5 learnings from British success at the Olympics

It was strange to see BBC television news presenters grinning quite so broadly, but as the presenter stepped to one side to show that Britain had reached 2nd place on the medals table at the mid-point of the Olympics, most of Britain felt a warm sense of achievement. If I’m honest, being a nation of “glass half full”, for many, it was somewhat of a surprise that this small island nation is doing so well.  There’s a real halo effect that happens when your country, your team or your business does well.  Here’s a handful of observations that drive British Olympic athletes that could apply to you & your role!

Show pride – Whether you win gold, silver, bronze or just miss out on a medal, athletes show they are proud of representing their country and proud of their achievement. In work, we don’t always achieve our desired outcome, despite our best efforts, but feeling a sense of achievement for the results delivered will spur us on to achieve success next time.

Persevere – Even when an elite athlete stumbles or falls, they don’t give up, they get back up and finish the race.  Many are competing in multiple events, so they can’t let defeat in one race distract them from victory in another.  We are all managing multiple projects and work streams, each at a different stage, so perseverance is key to looking beyond the short term challenges and reaching the winning post across the many streams.  A temporary setback is just that – temporary.

Have courage – When athletes compete after injury, in a new event or even enter a completely different field, they’ve got to take a leap of faith, believing in their own ability to perform to the same high standard in a different field. It’s never going to be easy, but the courage held by athletes that they can and will succeed can be used in very much the same way in the workplace.  Transformation at work happens with ever more regular frequency, and courage to believe in the success of the change is an excellent attribute to help you sail through it.

Be positive – Through 4 years of training, pain, endurance and endless sacrifice, elite athletes prepare themselves for one event – the Olympics.  In that short period, the previous 4 years effort comes to fruition.  They compete against many others who have followed the same path, but only those who are most positive will reach their goal of winning gold.  In your own organisation, evangelists and fans galvanise support and commitment around themselves.  The positive aura of evangelists is powerful & contagious, inspiring other to step up & deliver more – be positive to help others connect with your goals.

Do the unexpected – back at the Atlanta Olympic Games, Britain won a single gold medal.  The nation felt ashamed and humiliated at such defeat, and vowed to come back from Atlanta.  Fast forward to Rio Olympic games, and Britain is on top form, firing on all cylinders.  It took many years to fix our previous failures, but because of pride, positivity, courage & perseverance, we’ve turned things around.  Those who choose to win will invariably achieve success, so even if you have a mountain to climb in your role at work, don’t feel disheartened, get climbing, because like British Olympic athletes, you will achieve the success you deserve!


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