5 Lessons On Sports Business From My Conversation with Gemba Group CEO, Rob Mills

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Yesterday I had the chance to talk with Rob Mills, Director and CEO of the Gemba Group.

We had what turned into a pretty good podcast chat about a lot of sports business topics and I wanted to highlight some big takeaways for me from our talk:

Empathy is a key differentiator:

Rob spent a lot of time talking about empathy and we discussed how empathy is often misunderstood and doesn’t get the amount of attention it deserves.

In revisiting our conversation, empathy truly is the key factor between being a great leader and being just an okay manager.

Rob really highlights that.

You are not your market and you have to be able to put your emotions aside:

I’m fond of telling you that you aren’t your market.

Rob talks a lot about sports business being driven by the emotional connection between fans and their teams. This emotion filters into the business side as well.

This means that you have to recognize the emotional aspects of the job and the profession and find ways to short circuit your emotions so you can make a good decision.

It is often difficult but Rob talks about a number of ways that he and his team are able to create an environment where they can help clients make the best possible decision.

Segmentation of your marketing is super important:

We went a little into the idea that marketing seems to want to take the biggest possible demographic group and market to everyone like they are the same.

This is wrong and both Rob and I had different ways of approaching the topic.

No matter where you come down on the topic, the key here is that you need to have a grasp on your customer, their POV, and what they value.

The way that Rob talks about building out personas is pretty compelling.

You have to take the best practices from everywhere, not just your industry:

Rob buys what I am selling about stealing ideas from everywhere when you are looking to improve your experience.

We talked about all kinds of examples about how this can change the way that you approach experience for your guests including examples like the Four Seasons, Disney, and Mercedes.

The Chinese market is huge and the opportunities are huge, but you have to have the right approach:

Everyone wants to rush into China.

The problem is that the Chinese market takes a lot of nurturing. You might need 5-10 years to see meaningful impact from your efforts and knowing that at the outset to ensure you set the right priorities, expectations, and plans is essential to success.

This is important because as Rob points out, in the West, we might think in terms of election cycles. While in China, they think in terms of dynasties.

This perspective is key.

What did you think of the conversation with Rob? Let me know below!

BTW, do you get my newsletter? “The Business of Value” is a free resource to help you think about value differently, offer more value to your markets, and capture some of that value for yourself. Get it by visiting this page

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