As London hosts the world's greatest sporting spectacle, Adrian Moorhouse advises on the key lessons for UK businesses
How a high performing team can work at its peak
Often it's the individual performers who get all the glory, but it's really worth taking note of the team sports. The likes of rowing, wheelchair basketball and football all give us insight into the dynamics of a high performing team. After training together for months on end, they will understand each other's strengths and weaknesses — do your teams know theirs?
Players on a football pitch or members of a sales team need to understand each other's strengths so they can anticipate each other's actions and react accordingly. One sales performer may be fantastic at generating an initial lead but less well equipped to close the deal. Being aware of this will allow somebody else to take on the deal at the right time and ensure the best outcome for the team. Being clear about roles and boundaries will also allow individuals to take personal accountability for their contributions.
Data driven development
Top athletes are surrounded by amazing support teams - coaches, sports psychologists and team managers to name but a few. They will have a number of sources to get feedback from and will be constantly seeking it ahead of their competition. One thing businesses can really make the most of is 360-degree evaluation. How do your manager, colleagues and direct reports view your performance? Even seeking the opinion of someone outside your team, or a supplier, can help you understand when you are at your best and what you need to work on. Are you really active in a brainstorm before lunch? Or snappy with suppliers if they call you on a Friday afternoon? Athletes will have worked out their optimum times and days for training, and equally what rest they need in order to recover.
Leading from the front... and the back
Athletes and sports teams are very comfortable with the idea of shared leadership — alternating who is taking the lead as determined by the situation, the strengths of the team and the time available. At the beginning of a training session, perhaps the coach will take the lead, followed by the self-directed leadership of the athlete, and closing with the leadership of the lead psychologist. When your team has an important campaign or project, are you just as good at sharing the leadership?
Over the next couple of weeks we'll all be watching and feeling inspired. Taking that next step to turn inspiration into motivation will help you and your team gain the edge.
Adrian Moorhouse is the Managing Director of Lane4, a consultancy helping individuals and teams around the world reach their fullest potential. Read more about how Lessons From The Games can help your organisation build sustainable competitive advantage.
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