What a year! 2016 is gradually coming to an end and I have taken some time in the past few weeks to reflect on how it went. I have to say, rarely have I experienced so many ups and downs within the course of just a few months. I have been waiting since the end of 2015 to win back my world championship title! Unfortunately – as you know – that hasn't happened yet. The rematch against Tyson Fury was scheduled for a number of different dates but, for a variety of reasons, has not yet taken place. One thing is for sure, however: I will be back in the ring in the early part of 2017.
I am determined to get my world championship belt back again. Boxing is an important part of my life. However – and this is a great blessing – it is no longer the only reason for me to get up in the morning. I am involved in other activities that are very important to me, and my enforced break has allowed me to concentrate on these even more.
For example, I started a continuing education program called "CAS Change & Innovation Management" at the Institute for Customer Insight of the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, in February where – together with some amazing professors and experts in the field – I teach Self & Challenge Management to Managers.
Only people who think progressively and act with courage get rewarded
The first session was a complete success. Together with my team, I have already spent quite some time preparing the second year of the Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) which will get underway on February 27 next year. This experience has convinced me more than ever that only people who think progressively and act with courage get rewarded. Before the start of the education program there were, of course, people who were a little critical of our plans – to put it mildly. Despite my successes as an entrepreneur and despite my academic training, a number of people had their own preconceived ideas. "Is he up to it?" a lot of them said in private, and a few even to my face. "What's the boxer up to now…?". I can't really hold that against them – at the end of the day, I earned my laurels over the last couple of decades as a sportsman. But not just as a sportsman – as shown by my collaboration with the University.
It's not just a matter of carrying on with the study course – we're also expanding our collaboration with the university. Working together with the Institute for Customer Insight, I have launched a Competence Center to carry out research into the methods and means of entrepreneurship with regard to Self & Challenge Management. In short, we highlight which factors are crucial in allowing staff members to act on their own initiative and to think in a business-like manner, and which tools they need to help them successfully manage themselves and the challenges they face, where appropriate.
Like so many people, I have a range of different interests and talents. Last year reminded me that they are not mutually exclusive – despite how divergent they might appear at first glance – but are actually mutually inspirational. That also means being obsessed about your ideas, constantly pushing them forward, no matter how far-fetched they might appear at the outset, and fighting for them courageously.
In my opinion, two things are essential if you want to remain on your feet at the end of the process:
Plan for the longer term and keep on delivering
- Plans should be focused on the longer term
My personal focus, which underscores the sustainable way in which I do things, is called "Challenge Management". Everything I have learned in sport and everything I have transferred into my business life over the last few years can be subsumed under this term. How do I respond to challenges? How do I handle demands that might vary in importance, urgency and origin, in such a way that I not only maintain an overview of them but actually continue to shape my own environment? And what can managers learn from top sportspeople like me to help them meet the demands of their day-to-day work?
Our continuing education program in St. Gallen fits the bill in that regard every bit as much as our cooperation with Telekom AG, for example. Our focus is on giving German SMEs the tools they need to get on top of the challenges brought about by digitalization.
Projects like this can only operate reliably if they are embedded within a long-term strategy. As a sportsman working in a management environment, I have to act in a sustainable and long-term manner if I want to be seen as credible, reliable and competent. This brings me to the second thing I have learned in the last few months:
Trust in your own abilities
- I can only score points using my own abilities!
Or, to put it more flippantly, stick to what you know best. Take the example of our cooperation with Telekom AG. If I were to put myself forward as an expert in digitalization, people would raise their eyebrows – and they'd be right to do so. After all, what makes me an expert in digital transformation all of a sudden?
However, what I do know from my sporting experience is how to deal with the unknown. Take the case of a strong new opponent who wants to punch my face in and wants to threaten the success I have had for a number of years. This situation is not so dissimilar to the one by which a great many employees and self-employed people feel trapped when it comes to the topic of digitalization. They are afraid of what they don't know and are concerned that the changes ahead will bring a number of disadvantages with them.
My experience and my strategies on how to handle new – challenging – situations can help them survive in a world that is becoming more and more complex, and understand change not as a threat but as an opportunity. I am the Challenge Management expert. I make myself available in this role to companies, organizations and managers – that is my field of expertise.
As you can see, last year had a lot of changes in store for me – not to mention a few surprises. However, I didn't regard the sporting standstill as a failure, but rather as a gain. An opportunity to discover new things and to drive them forward. After all, there are two sides to every coin. We should be thinking: there is nothing bad that doesn't also contain something good.
I see it as a sporting objective to find that "something good" – in fact, that's "Challenge Management" on a small scale. Even though we might prefer to do without certain changes: they mean transformation and movement. That is good, because standing still is actually going backwards. I would like to encourage you to embrace your challenges in 2017 and to accept them in the same proactive manner as I do. Because they will take you forward. The only driving force is you!
Originally posted on Linked IN by: Dr. Wladimir Klitschko
Contact John Assunto for all of your Education Recruiting needs! Johna@worldbridgepartners.com or 860-387-0503
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