Top sportsman helps local firms get competitive edge

Michael McKillop shows his latest gold Paralympic medal to Councillor Uel Mackin, Chairman of the council's Development Committee, Mayor Brian Bloomfield MBE and Mayoress Mrs Rosalind Bloomfield.

Michael McKillop shows his latest gold Paralympic medal to Councillor Uel Mackin, Chairman of the council's Development Committee, Mayor Brian Bloomfield MBE and Mayoress Mrs Rosalind Bloomfield.

Four-time Paralympic gold medallist Michael McKillop was special guest at a recent event at Lagan Valley Island to mark the start of Management Month.

The council’s Entrepreneurs Network came together with the Management & Leadership Network (MLN) to host ‘Achieving a Competitive Edge: Management and Leadership Lessons from Sport’, which was delivered by Dr McKillop and Kevin Kelly, co-owner of MLN.

Pictured at Achieving a Competitive Edge: Management and Leadership Lessons from Sport are: (l-r) Bill Manson, Management and Leadership Network; Councillor Uel Mackin, Chairman of the council's Development Committee; Dr Michael McKillop, Paralympian; Kevin Kelly, co-owner of MLN and the Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Councillor Brian Bloomfield MBE.

Pictured at Achieving a Competitive Edge: Management and Leadership Lessons from Sport are: (l-r) Bill Manson, Management and Leadership Network; Councillor Uel Mackin, Chairman of the council's Development Committee; Dr Michael McKillop, Paralympian; Kevin Kelly, co-owner of MLN and the Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Councillor Brian Bloomfield MBE.

Dr McKillop is one of Ireland’s most successful elite sportsmen. He is a four-time Paralympic gold medallist, a seven-time World Champion and multiple World Record holder.

The wise words of Denis Waitley were referenced by Dr McKillop when he said: “There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.”

This has been the inspiration behind Michael’s very successful sporting career and definitely provided motivation to those business owners attending who are well aware that the world of sport is a lot like business where there is training and competition, passion and hard work, victories and defeats.

Dr McKillop outlined to the audience how he took full advantage of opportunities presented to him to overcome his cerebral palsy through running. In doing so he managed to turn a negative mental attitude into a positive and after winning his first cross-country race at age 11 he did something his future self would thank him for. Key to his success was that you don’t succeed on your own – you need teamwork and people skills to build success.

Following a question and answer session, attendees left with the knowledge to: value employees, to create a self-motivating environment, treat others the way they want to be treated and show sincere gratitude to all you work with.

Welcoming attendees to the Allianz-sponsored event, Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh, Councillor Brian Bloomfield MBE, commented: “The two worlds of business and sport are competitive and key skills are necessary to succeed in both. The speakers will discuss the similarities and based on the knowledge gained those businesses present will have further advantages over their competitors to strive ahead and increase profits.

“Within the Lisburn Castlereagh area we have an ever increasing population, bringing a wealth of talent, creativity and high skill levels to the local economy. Our businesses enjoy some of the lowest rates in Northern Ireland and as a council we are committed to bringing further inward investment to the area through new businesses setting up in Lisburn Castlereagh to avail of its property infrastructure and excellent transportation links.”

Commenting afterwards, Councillor Uel Mackin, Chairman of the council’s Development Committee, said: “It was enlightening to hear the parallels between the world of sport and business.

“The importance of being open with employees and ensuring they understand the goals, purpose and process of a decision or action was discussed by Kevin. He also identified that ego is a problem in management decision making and more suitable traits to display are affability, humbleness, being genuine and paying attention to important details. I think Kevin’s last comparison using Sir Steve Redgrave was most inspiring as he instructed those managers and entrepreneurs present to let talented employees thrive as that is what will help build the company and not a manager trying to be the best.”