Learning lessons through sport

19 June 2014

Learning lessons through sport

Professor Damian Hughes

"Institutions, businesses, and academics can learn from elite sport and, in this year of sport for Scotland and for the city, it is apt to be asking what lessons can be learned and how it can be continued long after the Games finish," says Professor Damian Hughes.

Professor Hughes, a Sports Psychology Consultant and Professor of Human Resource Management and Organisational Behaviour at Manchester Metropolitan University, was speaking to an audience of alumni, academics and members of the public at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) yesterday as the city gears up for the Commonwealth Games.

His masterclass provided an insight into the practices and methods used by elite sportspeople and entrepreneurs in the world of business, and how these can be applied in academia as well as in life.

He shared anecdotes from his experiences of shadowing Sir Richard Branson, drawing on his mindset and the positive psychology and culture Branson applies to business, including his perception of success and refusal to accept failure.

Professor Hughes, who has worked with Manchester United and France Rugby Union, described how great teams control their environments and influences. In the teams he works with, he advocates adopting a positive language policy which has had effective results; a lesson which can be learned in academia and business.

Citing Nobel Peace Prize winner Mother Teresa, he spoke about the importance of social change, changing attitudes and having the courage to evoke change.

He said "You already know the lessons of elite sport; it's common sense. The elite have the courage to keep going."