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Golden Days

The golden nosed Jumbo that brought Team GB back from Rio was a lovely touch. Nice one BA. Watching the team arrival back in the UK after the Rio Olympics was quite emotional. We have witnessed such amazing performances over the last two weeks. And the results – well, they speak for themselves.

Sport at the level we have seen recently represents the ultimate form of competition both for teams and individuals. Many of the same processes that run through sport equally apply to the workplace. The requirements in sport for strategy, team working, coaching, leadership and mentoring all determine whether the athletes will get their medals or not.

Whenever we come across a great performer we always ask “what can we learn from this?” The Olympics can teach us a number of things. Here are just a few .......


In many sports the key thing is how the team performs. It is rare that someone will perform to his or her optimum in every team position. Olympic team members will be placed where they can be most effective. The same process should be used in the workplace. Make sure that employees are in job roles based on their strengths. It surprising how often there’s a poor fit.

Deal with problems early. Sports analytics focus on individual players. Everyone knows how a player is performing. Businesses are often relatively slow to address HR issues. In my experience under-performing employees often keep their jobs far longer than poor athletes. Human performance analytics should be much more of a focus in business.


Make sure that teams are being well lead. The best leaders engage fully with their teams. When things are tough they share the problem and work with the team to find solutions. They focus on the long term objectives not just the short-term financials.

It is vital to reinforce the wider objectives underpinning your organisational activities. Communicate the ways in which the workforce can play a meaningful part in achieving them. Support your team to help them achieve the goals. Help them become more resilient by balancing well-being with performance. Like athletes, a manager must avoid burning out the team.

Target setting

In Team GB the coaches created a clear vision for their team. They helped team members identify, focus on and align themselves with that vision. We need to do this in business too. When business goals and strategies have to be met, leaders must communicate the vision clearly and often to make sure that employees understand, care about and action it.

Team GB’s athletes had their own personal goals. To achieve them the outcome goal was broken into smaller milestones, making stepping stones to eventually reach the outcome goal. This process can easily be applied in business, helping clarify and simplify what can be a difficult task of planning for future performance.


Developing mutual trust between the coach and team members is an essential element in a high performing team. Honesty is a fundamental basis for other behaviours for example, sharing information, having frank discussions, accepting feedback and taking responsibility for one’s performance. Team GB athletes were encouraged to have honest conversations and accept feedback from coaches and other team members. In the workplace clear and honest conversations between team members should also be encouraged and facilitated. A team’s ability to have difficult conversations and resolve conflict can result in positive outcomes.

We are all massively proud of Team GB’s achievements at Rio. Now let’s keep the momentum going in the workplace.

We deal with the good, the bad and the ugly of HR. If you need help resolving problems with poorly performing team members or any other HR issues, give us a call on 01908 262628.

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