Interview to Deepak Trivedi, sports consultant for London Olympic games and now Tokyo Olympic games, head of European and Asian projects for New York based firm Strategic Influence, member of the National Speakers association and has spoken and consulted with many organisations such as Microsoft. He teaches Sports and Leadership programmes in 5 countries.
You have a lot of experience but what is that a big company needs from you that is not already present in the company?
The main reason for a company to hire people outside the organization for working on an issue is that they want an outside perspective that is completely objective. The insiders are connected each other with loyalty and attachment and are more likely to open to a stranger about any problem that may be.
You work as Leadership consultant. What do you teach?
Let’s talk about the organizational aspect. I think that the most important thing in any organization should be focusing on people, because people is the most important asset they have. Often management looks at the finance, at the outcome or at the efficiency of the process, but don’t look enough at the employees, at their wellbeing, their moral, their motivation, so that they continue to be happy employees within the organization. I have seen organizations that have kept on making mistakes in terms of turnover of staff and they haven’t changed anything. Their focus is on the next new big product or on the next marketing campaign that is coming out. But how often they sit down with their employees to say “hey guys you are doing a good job”? Almost never.
So, what I can say about the leadership is connected to the people aspect of the organization. In a more conservative organization the leader think that people go to work as they are paid to work, and that’s it. Actually the more involved people have an emotional attachment in what they do. You can get the best talents, but keeping the best talents it’s a completely different story, and this must be based not only on salaries and bonuses but above all on recognize them, expressed on the smaller elements that happen continuously. Being a leader is showing that you care for the people that is working for you.
Do you think that everyone can become a leader?
Most people can, but we must remember that being a leader is a continuous renewed learning process, and that the judges of the quality of a leadership are the employees that work for him. Thinking in this way we can say that everyone can learn to be a leader.
Someone says that we are in the golden age of sports. Do you agree or do you think that sports could be even more developed?
I think that we are in very exciting time in sport. We are seeing so much kind of evolving. 10 or 15 years ago people were used to attend events just to see the team or just to see the athletes, and they were used to buy the tickets to attend that specific event, now sport has become part of the entertainment industry. The fans want much more than just the game now, they want a wider experience and we have several kind of fans now, not just the big supporters, there many occasional fans. If things are exposed to this perspective they seem to be much more part of the entertainment than sport business.
For example, when NFL started a process of internationalization and decided to have matches into Wembley stadium, one of the most iconic stadium in the world with 90.000 seats, in a country where 50% of population don’t understand the rules and no one had ever practiced that sport at school, and there were no connections with NFL football team, people didn’t think this going to work. When the ticket went on sale on Ticketmaster, within minutes the 90.000 seats sold out for the first game. This means that we are in a golden era, because the possibilities are endless. If can convince people to buy tickets for something they have no idea what’s going on, why are they going for? For a new entertainment experience. Now Nba is doing the same in many towns even outside Uk.
You are in the board of directors for tennis in New York, a very important place for tennis, and in many other international organizations. Surely you have special and unique skills, but at the same time it seems you have very good qualities in relationships. In your opinion how much are relationships important?
I think relationships are much more important than skills, and this is one the thing that I always say to my students. I was lucky to have very good mentors when I started my carrier and I now am focused to teach as much as I can. I can say that the biggest mistake that I see is not to have genuine relationships, that is the main way to have natural progression. I use myself as an example because I have never had a job in an official process of selection and interview, and all them have come out from my personal network of relationships. The point is that if people understand that you have genuine consideration for them, they remember it.
We could say that you are a big influencer, and being an influencer today mean ‘being important’. Is there a strategy to become an influencer or it happens casually as a consequence of simply working?
Talking of influencing I’m more of the old school because you can make a lot of communication contents as articles, books, having a blog etcetera but I don’t have a lot of online presence. Most of what I have done I have relied on word of mouth and reputation. I call people and I write people on a personal base, and the professional base follows. This attitude has more influence than having a blog. If people you are connected know what you are doing, they will support you. It’s simple: if you care of them, they care of you, and this is something I’d like to convince younger generations, often focused to have something fast and ‘now’, to do.