Following ‘Super Saturday’ and the enormous success of 6 gold medals in a day for Team GB, I wondered what this means for those of us working in London and the rest of country?
It is a marvellous example of how a focused team, effectively led, with the right resources can achieve above and beyond expectations. In parallel, the same is true of business. As we watch the marvellous efforts of “our greatest team”, think about your team and how it operates. What do you have to do to take Gold? Is it possible to reach pole position in this recessionary market, where growth is increasingly difficult and the backdrop is one of rising operating costs and falling revenues and margins?
As I listened to Radio 5 Live yesterday morning – a break from Humprhrys and Naughtie on Radio 4 – there was much gloom surrounding the latest retail figures and discussion about the legacy of the Olympics. Certainly, the City is extremely quiet and taxi drivers are bemoaning everything but the weather for a change. So let’s take the lessons of sport and apply them to your business environment:
Vision: It is clear that all the athletes have a clear goal and are unrelenting in their pursuit of that vision. Operating in business should be no different.
Training: The athletes have trained tirelessly. Investment in training is crucial and, without this, performance in your organisation will flat line.
Investment: Doing nothing achieves nothing. While it seems counterintuitive when we have rising costs, you must create the space to invest in your business – whether it is in new people, upgraded systems or better infrastructure, look at all the elements and see where improvement is needed. It is vital to create the foundations for success. They don’t just happen by chance.
People: We have touched upon training, but this is just one aspect. People are often our most valuable resource. Operating as a team with common goals and the right tools, they can work together to achieve that little bit extra. All of the athletes are world beaters, but without the support and focus of their team and coaches, few (if any) would be world class.
In sum, despite the economic uncertainty, we should use the success of Team GB as an example to all of us in business. Bemoaning falling revenues will not drive your business to success. Inspiring leadership with clear goals, great people and good foundations will see you through these tough times and prove that it is possible to adapt and win, whatever the circumstances.
Nigel Peters, Managing Director of Alium Partners, a global provider of interim management solutions