Employee Engagement

The Olympic Effect.

As a sportsman, or should I say an ageing man who still dreams of being a sportsman, I, like many others, have been glued to the Olympics and it is great to see Team GB doing so well.
However, what I find really interesting is the insight the BBC are giving into how these athletes make it to the pinnacle of their sport. Two elements stand out, firstly the commitment to training and secondly the “little gains”.

I have long advocated the fact that business can learn a huge amount from the sporting world and how the top teams and individuals increase their performances and it struck me that there is a great lesson here for both businesses and individuals.

If we take the two points separately starting with training.

As a sportsman, you have to push yourself, when you are tired or not 100% you still have to train. When you would rather be out socialising or spending time with family and friends or relaxing, you have to train. The same applies for business. If you want to be successful and grow as an individual or a business you have to make sacrifices. Doing the extra hour or two a day, making the phone call you would rather not, pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. And this cannot be just for a week or two, it is continuous and if you relax thinking you have done all you can, remember, your competitor won’t be relaxing and will be pushing themselves to beat you over the line.

Secondly the “little gains”. Dave Brailsford, now of Team Sky and previously GB Cycling always talks about the 1% gains, if you improve every aspect by 1% it quickly becomes a 10% improvement and will leave your competitors behind. This is now an approach that most top coach’s use, always looking to improve the athletes in small ways, better equipment, improved diet, a little extra training and more. So think how this would apply to your business. If you can improve the effectiveness of you sales team by 1%, your marketing by 1%, operations by 1%, productivity by 1%, pricing by 1%. If all of these are achieved you will very quickly grow the business by 5% and if that is achieved year on year you will be in a strong position.

In most cases businesses can achieve much more than this, however, it is important not to set targets too high as that can de-motivate and have a negative impact. But if the targets are realistic and you look at all areas of the business, the gains will be significant. Hopefully The Olympic Effect can be used not just by aspiring sportsmen and women but by businesses as well.

What do you think?


To find out more about how we apply the lessons of sport to business, contact us.


One response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *