Loved the Rio Olympics. It’s that type of event where you can find very easy excuses to watch anything from table tennis to dressage. And while it’s still fresh in everyone’s minds, it’s a great time to think about the parallels we can all draw from the efforts of our athletes and their teams that led to such huge success over those two weeks.
When you think about it, it’s pretty obvious, right? They’ve got the talent, the passion, the work ethic, and then the teams around them have the knowledge, plans and motivational skills to bring out the best in the athletes. Couple that powerful formula with funding and you’ve got a real chance of success.
In our meetings with clients we nearly always talk about focusing on input objectives, rather than outputs, as we fully believe that once these are in place, and their people have the skills and confidence to practice and then do it, then the outputs will take care of themselves. An example would be a salesperson. Say they’ve been given a target of £1million in a year (a ‘gold medal’ performance). Unless they know what inputs they need to focus on, they’ll never get there. Things like number of times to contact a client, or what to say on the phone, or how many and which people to develop relationships with.
That salesperson will have a level of innate talent, passion and work ethic. But then how many companies provide the support through their knowledge, planning and motivational skills to bring the best performance out of that salesperson? Mo Farah didn’t win the double-double by doing it on his own, yet sometimes we can be guilty of leaving our people to ‘get on with it’, when they actually need support around them to reach their very best performance.
And as for the Paralympians, well, they get a special mention as they’ve had to battle either lifelong conditions or a point in their lives where everything changed. Which highlights another key quality all these athletes have, and that in business our people can develop – resilience. As Custer said ‘it’s not how often you get knocked down that counts, it’s how often you get back up’.