Resilience, teamwork and clear goal-setting are among attributes acquired by elite sportspeople, which can be usefully transferred to management in the NHS and other public sector organisations.
That was the key message driven home by former British Olympic athlete Roger Black when he spoke to health sector leaders at Finegreen Associates' annual leadership conference Setting The Pace in Manchester.
Recalling how he made an early decision not to follow in the footsteps of his doctor father, in favour of an athletics career, the Olympic and World Championship medallist said: "Outstanding performance is clearly essential for exceptional sportspeople - and consistently high performance, whether individual or collective, can only be achieved on the back of certain qualities; these include being resilient, having a clear idea of what you want to achieve and building a great team spirit.
"These are all considerations which arise now in my business life - and which I'm sure can usefully be applied in NHS settings."
Around 100 people attended the Finegreen event - subtitled Achieving Great Leadership in Healthcare - including senior executives from trusts around the country and representatives of national organisations.
Other keynote speakers included - Professor Aidan Halligan, Director of Education at UCLH; Karen Lynas, Deputy MD at the NHS Leadership Academy and Jon Restell, CE of Managers in Partnership.
Finegreen's Chief Executive Neil Fineberg summed up: "The aim of the day was to enable senior managers to share their experiences and best practice when handling the many challenges facing today's NHS - with a view to making best practice common practice.
"Initial feedback suggests NHS leaders welcome this type of opportunity and we will certainly be continuing our programme of events for health sector professionals over the coming year, so that more people can 'think outside the box' with colleagues confronted by common challenges.--- ends