How curiosity can grow your sports business career
by Bob Hamer | April 18, 2016
There are many ways to achieve success in sports business. Every team, job, and company culture is different and every individual is different too. I don't believe there is a one-size-fits-all approach to success, however, I do think there are certain character traits that can help people succeed and one of them is curiosity. You may be curious as to how that can help you? Let me show you:
1. Be curious about different jobs in sports - Before you apply for jobs in sports, you need learn more about them. What does the day to day look like? How do people get those jobs? Which jobs would I enjoy the most, and why? Once you learn about them you can narrow your focus to the right jobs for you. If you go after the right jobs you'll have a better chance at getting them.
2. Be curious during the interview process - You're interviewing the team as much as they're interviewing you. Ask about the company culture, your potential boss and the current state of the team. Ask what the expectations are and how you'll be measured. Your singular focus should be to understand the position first to determine if it's the right fit for you. If it is, now based on your knowledge of the role you can show why you're the best fit for it. You'll naturally be more passionate about a job you want and your questions show your desire to be there. Both will help you get the job.
3. Be curious when you get the job - On day one, be humble enough to admit you haven't been successful yet, and others above you have. Learn how they did it. Ask questions about how they succeeded. What challenges did they face? How did they overcome them? What advice they'd give you? Then take all that advice, follow the success plan from those above you and focus on executing that every day. Buy into the process and the results will follow.
4. Be curious on the job - I'm not saying to defy your bosses orders, but once you've been on the job for awhile challenge yourself to look at the business in different ways. What can we do better here? Ask your customers for feedback. Brainstorm new ideas with your team. Look at ways you can improve your process. Try and avoid complacency and the status quo. If you continue to challenge yourself to get better individually and as a team you'll be perceived as a leader and produce great results.
5. Be curious to meet new sports industry people - The beauty of this industry is although we're competing on the field, court, or diamond we're in different markets so we very rarely compete in business. Be curious to get to know new people in our industry. Ask them their career path, what they're doing, what techniques and tactics are successful in their market. In turn you'll learn things you can bring into your job that can help you and build strong relationships and a network that can help you grow professionally.
6. Be curious to learn about your bosses career goals - Ask your boss questions and aim to develop a great relationship with them. They hold the keys to your future in many ways. They can give you more responsibility, endorse you for future jobs, help you get a raise and be a great mentor. In short they can help you get where you want to go. But first, we need to learn about them and where THEY want to go. What are their challenges for the staff? How can you help? How can you make their job easier? Make it your goal to make your bosses life easier. If you do that, you'll develop great trust and if you have that they'll give you opportunities to grow.
7. Be curious to learn about other departments - Make it a goal to learn about other pieces of the business. Ask people that work in those departments about their job, what are they working on, what are their pain points, how can you and/or your team help them with that? It'll help you develop more influence internally, and once you get to know their business more you can determine if that's something you want to do down the road too. You always want to prepare for your next role before you get it so it shortens the learning curve once you get it. But if you have no understanding of that job or the people there, it's harder to justify why you're ready to take on that department as well.
8. Be curious about your own performance - Sometimes it's hard to evaluate yourself during the game. Ask for regular feedback from your boss, your peers, your mentors, and potentially your staff. There is always room to improve and get better. Don't be comfortable being average, ask how you can be great, what you can do to get better and focus on improving those skill sets.
9. Be curious about your career goals - As you progress professionally, sometimes your career goals change. Life happens and priorities shift and you owe it to yourself to think about the things you like and dislike and continue to work towards a job that makes you happy. It's hard to do it in the heat of battle but find time to unwind after the season and evaluate your life. Ask all the tough questions and the "why". If you aren't happy, look for something else, and if you are, re-commit mentally and keep driving forward.
10. Be curious learning about your customers - Whether you're in sales, marketing, sponsorship or any other role in the front office, putting your customer first will further your career. Identify who your customer is, internally or externally. Make it your goal to learn about them, who are they, what they want, what makes them tick and their pain points and make it your goal to help make their life easier. If you do that, they'll reward you multiple times over and in turn it'll further your own career.
By being curious it shows you care. If you really care about people and helping others, it will shine through and people will gravitate towards you. You'll develop more relationships and influence, produce greater results, improve your skills, and grow your career. Don't maintain the status quo, ask the "why" and the tough questions and challenge yourself to get better and learn something new every day. If you do, you'll succeed.