Olympic medalist Roger Black is hosting the NMBS builders merchant industry conference in Marbella which begins on Thursday June 21.
As well as opening the business sessions on Friday June 22, Black will deliver a keynote speech on the Saturday.
He will talk about his experiences on the track and share with delegates the performance traits that he picked up during his time as an athlete. He will also encourage them to think about how those traits could translate into their businesses. how they have helped to shape his business ventures off the track.
“I was the fastest kid in my school,” he told BMJ’s Mark Rowland in the June issue.
“I was the fastest in my county and that was a gift, I didn’t work at it, I was given that gift, for whatever reason. Once you get to a national level and an Olympic level, you’re also up against the other kids around the world who were also the fastest at their schools, the fastest kid in their county.”
At professional level, most athletes possess a similar level of natural ability, with some notable exceptions (step forward, Usain Bolt). In order to succeed, to win over and over again, you need something more than talent.
“It’s behaviour, it’s attitude, it’s humility, a lack of complacency,” says Black. “It’s appreciation of your talent. It’s hard work inquisitiveness, a thirst for knowledge a thirst to get better. That’s the same for business.”
Black, alongside Steve Backley, has created a second career out of the common threads between sport and business. The same traits that good sportspeople have can be found in top level managers and entrepreneurs, he says, especially when it comes to drive and ambition.
“Anybody who is trying to build a business or be a part of a business has to think beyond what they currently think is their maximum. The Olympic athlete has to always keep pushing.
“Businesses change all the time – we run a business, so we know what it’s like. It’s the same for the athlete; you have to be open to change, you have to have the courage to make decisions and you also have to put in the groundwork. You have to have the dedication, discipline and commitment, but I think the starting point is passion – you have to be passionate about what you do.”