Incorporating sport into hospitality catering - Kate Haywood discusses

Kate Haywood, EP Business in Hospitality campaign ambassador
31/07/2018 - 07:00
Kate Haywood, ex-Olympic swimmer and campaign ambassador for EP Business in Hospitality, discusses the role sport can have in hospitality catering.

I have just taken up a role spearheading a new campaign that encourages former athletes to move into corporate business, where they can use their sporting experiences and knowledge to change the prevailing culture.

Working with EP Business in Hospitality I want to help show how the hospitality industry can draw valuable lessons from sport, and this new campaign is focused on doing just that.

What are my qualifications? Well, I swam at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, and at the age of just 15 I was the youngest swimmer to ever compete at the Commonwealth Games.

My passion for this campaign stems from a belief that having the trust, support and belief of those around you is the key to achieving sporting successes.

Sport is a particularly cut-throat world and can put people under immense pressure. So, when you’re in that environment and pushing yourself to the absolute limit to reach your goals, having a team that displays the qualities necessary for success makes every dream possible.

If things aren’t going great, your team is there to support you and help find other ways to resolve issues. I treated my coaches and team-mates like family and knew they would have my back, but it seems too many people in business today are trying to do everything alone, which isn’t going to work. You will never achieve true success in complete isolation.

I believe there is a growing lack of trust within companies because individuals are focused purely on their own ambitions. As in sport, they want to be the best at what they do, but there is a big difference: in sport, individuals work together because they have to; in business, it often seems as though people don’t consider the importance of having the trust or support of others and are trying to get to the top by themselves and at any cost.

If things are to change, organisations need to look at examples of success in sport and recognise why these competitors achieve.

For example, probably the most valuable skill you learn as an Olympian is the art of communication.

Business leaders and teams need to be clear about their goals to ensure that everyone is working towards the same outcome.

Employees are also often afraid to speak out in the workplace, so we need to find ways to make them feel comfortable and safe enough to do so honestly. Spending time with colleagues away from work can help – that could mean socialising in a more relaxed environment or participating in activities that push people outside their comfort zones.

You have to be able to talk to get the best out of each other. It’s about collaboration. As the saying goes, “there is no ‘I’ in team”, which is so true. You need to have faith in those around you.

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