16.02.2017

Martin Gilbert: how skiing compares to running a business

by Aberdeen

400As myself and all other business leaders know, when you step away from work you never really stop thinking about it - even when hurtling down an icy ski slope in the Swiss Alps.
Unfortunately there was no time for skiing in Davos for the World Economic Forum last month but I did find myself looking at the skiers on the slopes with envy and I couldn’t help but ponder on just how much skiing is like running a business. You make mistakes, master new skills and analyse your performance over and over again.

Lindsey Vonn recently said, “I’m never tired of winning, and I’m never tired of skiing,” a quote that can easily be applied to business and with the Swiss ski resort of St Moritz hosting the 44th Ski World Championships this month what better time to reflect on what both have in common.
As a business we are well aware of the similarities - sponsoring twelve Swiss Ski Schools which is great for our brand.
Firstly, as Vonn will know, you must fall down to learn how to get back up again. Both in skiing and business everyone makes mistakes, it is learning how to recover from them that makes your business stronger. I’m sure if it was possible to rewind the clock many business leaders would do things differently, but you need to make the mistakes to learn how to overcome them and become better.

Another lesson I have learnt in life is that you should always take advice from those around you. Just as our sponsored ski instructors are able to improve your skiing, experts in particular fields are able to help our business build, maintain and grow in ways we couldn’t organically. Everyone has different knowledge and experience to offer.     
As a big fan of the sport I have witnessed how skiing has gradually developed from being an individual sport into more of a team sport. Take the Swiss ski team for example: behind any individual success is a group concept that has helped achieve that big win. To put it simply, each individual must push the others to improve

That’s something that sport has learned from business and what we encourage our staff to do at every corner. Those that work behind the scenes are just as important as those that get the limelight.  
Having watched some of the action from St Moritz, including Nicole Schmidhofer claiming the first gold at Vonn’s expense, it is clear you must keep positive and avoid complacency. For Vonn, a minor tactical error scuppered her chances but maintaining a positive outlook and a determination to succeed is just what we as a global asset management firm do in day-to-day life.
Never stop learning, never stop improving.
Finally, and if there was one thing that summed up the similarities of skiing and business it is to let go of your fear. As us Brits well know, it was Eddie the Eagle that famously said, “I love jumping nearly as much as I love proving people wrong.” Eddie did just that, by becoming the biggest star at the 1988 Winter Olympics - even if he finished dead last in both his ski jump events! Aberdeen Asset Management was in its fifth year of business back then and without having that courage to venture into the unknown, just like Eddie, we wouldn’t be here now. Everyone must summon up that confidence to know what they’re doing is the right thing.    

As sponsor of twelve Swiss Ski Schools, Aberdeen Asset Management has a keen interest in Swiss skiing, giving youngsters the opportunity to develop like their heroes but also giving our brand that unobtrusive presence in one of our key markets and to a targeted demographic.
In conjunction with their support of Swiss Ski Schools, Aberdeen has launched a ‘Tartan Instructor’ photography competition to WIN free ski lessons.

Entrants who spot the Tartan Instructor in resorts such as Corvatsch and Pontresina must upload a picture on Twitter to @AberdeenAssetCH with #AAMSki mentioning the RESORT you spotted him or her in. Competition closes on 31 April 2017.

For terms and conditions, go to: http://aboutus.aberdeen-asset.com/skicomp

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