S1 E12: Amplifying your success with lessons from systems thinking, Darcy Norman

As seen on FC Business, in this podcast Kitman Labs’ CEO Stephen Smith and Kitman Labs’ Performance Scientist, Darcy Norman explore how data can be used to build the framework for a team’s success, both on and off the field.

“Vision without systems thinking ends up painting lovely pictures of the future,” reflected MIT Sloan Lecturer, Peter M Senge. “It leaves no deep understanding of the forces that must be mastered to move from here to there.”

Never has this quote been more applicable in the world of business than in the business of sport. In the highly-emotive world of sport you would be hard pressed to find any team without a clear vision. If anything, creating a vision is the easy bit. However, executing on this vision is where a lot of organisations both sporting and otherwise tend to fall short. This is because they oftentimes lack a logical, systematic approach that aligns the entire organisation, including the actions of business and performance practitioners under a shared vision.

Darcy Norman, the new US Head of Performance Science for award-winning Silicon Valley company Kitman Labs, believes the process of systems thinking is a reliable way to put the pieces in place that will allow an organisation’s vision to become a reality. In his interview with Kitman Labs founder Stephen Smith,  Norman talks about the importance of supporting these systems by collecting objective data to build a framework for development and to combat the traditional heuristics and biases that are ever-present in sport. Organisations who develop strong systems and who know how to leverage their data are what Norman calls a ‘learning organisation’ – the ultimate success case of a business who is perpetually learning, innovating and advancing over their competition.

Norman himself has been involved in a number of recognised learning organisations, including Italian Football team AS Roma and the prestigious German National team during their 2014 FIFA World Cup victory. In this interview, Norman talks about his decision to embark on a new role with Kitman Labs and how it was influenced from his own experiences with systems thinking in sport. This interview is perfect for people in the business of sport, both on the commercial and performance side, who recognise success happens as a result of a team effort and want to continue to  drive their organisations forward.

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