Business leaders always are looking for good ways to gain an advantage, and as it turns out, some of the secrets to corporate success might be hidden in plain view in the sports environment. By treating an enterprise more like an athlete, you can go the extra mile and reach your goals.Eye on the BallIn sports, the saying “keep your eye on the ball” translates to “focus where it matters.” Good athletes do this extremely well, honing in on teammates, goals, baskets and distances even as a million and one distractions surround them. Applied to business, keeping your eye on the ball means that you keep your objectives at the forefront of everything you do. Constantly ask yourself whether what you are doing is moving you toward the specific point you want to reach. Look at what other companies are doing to stay competitive, but don’t let their vision pull you away from yours. When problems come up, try to resolve them with as much speed and efficiency as possible, keeping your brand message and obligation to your customers at the heart of operations. Prioritize so that you don’t waste the resources you have or miss opportunities.Train for Your GainAthletes who excel often have some degree of natural skill, but much of their success comes from good, old-fashioned hard work. They do drill after drill, sometimes working until blisters pop and bleed. In the same way, in business, you have to put in some effort to make your ideas thrive, even if your concepts are exceptional. For example, if you want to get a big picture of the market, you might need to train workers to be better at analytics. This training cannot stop. The market and the skills within your workforce are shifting all the time, so just as an athlete keeps getting out onto the track or field or into the gym, you have to keep self-evaluating and flexing your innovative muscles to maintain your fair share or gain ground. Regular HR meetings and seminars are tried and true ways to train.Get Rid of Dead WeightIn some sports, a little weight is a good thing, such as in sumo wrestling. Most of the time, though, extra bulk does nothing but slow athletes down. They have to work twice as hard to travel the same distance or go through a movement. Similarly, this kind of dead weight lurks in business in all kinds of places, such as outdated technology, overstaffing, poor policies and employees who lack sufficient training. Regularly review your company for these kinds of issues and trim down where you can to stay efficient.Look to Your TeamAs skilled as they might be, no athlete can really make it big if they try to do everything on their own. Even athletes who compete independently, such as boxers or downhill skiers, still have good coaches, nutritionists and other support. In the corporate environment, your support network is a mix of coworkers, consultants, specialists and vendors. Look to these people when your resources dwindle, you need motivation, you want to come up with a completely new competitive strategy or you need someone who can provide data to you. Remember, too, that you logistically can do only so much at a time, just as an athlete can play only one position at once. Delegate when you have to, handing off responsibilities to trustworthy team members so you don’t get burned out. Recognizing the difference between leading and managing makes a big difference here, ensuring the right people get assigned the right type of work. Leaders provide vision, whereas managers bring the vision to reality, formulating and implementing plans.Always Play FairSome athletes stop at nothing to win, thinking that crossing the finish line first or getting the trophy or medal is everything. They pump themselves full of unsafe enhancement drugs or pull all kinds of pranks in order to gain an unfair advantage. In the end, this backfires, with audiences and endorsement agents taking the lack of professional sportsmanship into account. Customers will judge your business based on how well you follow local and general industry regulations, and they want to see you looking out for more than money. They’ll reward you with loyalty if you are consistent, show respect to your competitors and can reach across the aisle for meaningful, helpful mergers and contracts. Protect your brand and treat all of your customers equally.ConclusionBusiness is not that different from sports, with competition often being incredibly fierce. Certain rules that apply to athletics easily transfer to the corporate arena, including playing fair, looking to your team, continually training and maintaining focus. With these rules guiding your operations, you can enjoy more success, bringing your brand message to a larger number of people and maybe boosting profits.