3 business lessons we learned from ParalympicsGB
The 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympic Games have certainly gripped recent public attention. We’re proud to have worked with the British Paralympic Association and a range of Paralympic sports since 2002. As always, our role is in the background rather than in the limelight – that’s where the athletes belong!
We contribute in a number of ways. William is sport psychologist with the GB Paralympic rowing team and worked with the gold medal winning mixed four in London. Last week Jonathan was in Sochi with the Paralympic Inspiration Programme, guiding a group of athletes and coaches to help them prepare for the challenges of competing in 2016 and 2020. The group included wounded servicemen making the transition into high-level sport through the ‘front line to start line’ programme.
It’s been a privilege to work with ParalympicsGB and here are three insights we’d like to share with you:
Going beyond gold
Our first project with the BPA was in 2002, working with Penny Briscoe, Chef de Mission at Sochi and the BPA’s Director of Sport. Penny recognized that Paralympic sport needed a step change to establish a more consistent and professional high performance culture. The rest of the world was improving fast and it was no longer sufficient to be content with winning a medal with below–standard preparation and performance. This culture change, backed up by smart investment, laid the foundation for today’s outstanding performances.
The implication for your business? Don’t settle for results at any cost. If you want sustainable performance, pay attention to your attitudes and working culture to ensure you focus on excellence at every step.
Re-set the bar
London 2012 and Sochi 2014 have been GB’s most successful Paralympics. Yet there’s never room for complacency or too much self-congratulation. The focus quickly moves to reviewing the lessons learned and seeking out every possible improvement for the future.
There are obvious parallels for business – make sure you prepare well, be thorough and efficient in the way you reflect and learn, and don’t be complacent. The performance that gets a gold medal this year won’t be good enough next year!
Athlete first, disabled second
Paralympic athletes all have a compelling story of injury, illness or an unlucky roll of the genetic dice. But the best performers don’t dwell on the past; instead they focus on achieving their goals and fulfilling their potential. We quickly learned to identify with Paralympians first and foremost as athletes, rather than as people with disabilities.
We can all learn from this attitude whatever challenges we are facing – to accept the reality of the past and concentrate on making the most of our abilities and the opportunities we have right now.
We’ve added a selection of photos from Sochi on our Facebook page.
If you’d like to learn how we could help inspire your people to apply these lessons in your business, get in touch.