Like millions of people all around the world, I have been enjoying the spectacle of the Olympic Games. Watching top performers at the peak of their abilities is always good but the Olympics are special. They offer a unique combination of competition and camaraderie that creates a WOW! that uplifts athlete and spectator alike.
There can be no doubt about the intensity of the competition. Every athlete is striving to stretch beyond anything they have ever achieved before and prepared to endure massive physical discomfort in the process, which is what makes it such compelling viewing. Nevertheless, the competition somehow still, ultimately, seems to become secondary. Goodwill and good sportsmanship is manifested in a way it isn’t in any other sporting arena.
For example, there were 9 or 10 heats just for the men’s 100 metre athletics. That is 80-90 sprinters. And there are only three medals (two if you exclude Usain Bolt!) Consequently for most athletes it ultimately comes down to competing against themselves – to doing their very best. So, for them the measure of success is simply achieving a “Personal Best” (PB). For them that is remarkable. However, their endeavour, and the chance of the unexpected, is what gives the Games their distinctive character and what makes them such a pleasure to watch.
There is an important lesson here for any business leader. To achieve the remarkable you need to create an enabling culture that promotes PBs. You need an environment that encourages, recognises and rewards PBs. Only when you create a distinctive employer brand that offers a superior customer experience and gives you a competitive edge, will you achieve the remarkable and make people want to do business with you.
If you doubt this, you just have to listen to the interviews of the medal-winning athletes. In so many cases the first thing they do is thank their others without whom, they acknowledge, their achievement would not have been possible. The fact is that great personal achievement is seldom, if ever, the result only of the individual’s own effort.
One of the most remarkable and inspiring examples of this was the Great Britain cycle team. It completely dominated the cycling events to such an extent that:
- It won most of the medals
- Every single competing athlete won a medal
- Almost all its members are looking forward to getting back to their training!
They were so successful that all the other teams are questioning how they did it, and even voicing suspicions of illegal tactics, which they cannot substantiate and which, in a sport recently ravaged by doping scandal, seems highly unlikely and, hopefully, totally unfounded. Rather than every single rider expressing their gratitude to their support team, most interesting here was the numbers of people and size and functions of those teams: family, coaches, personal trainers, nutritionists, mechanics, physiotherapists, etc.
Achieving the remarkable is truly a team effort, for both an individual and an organisation. It depends on every member of the team doing their best, personally and collectively. You could say it is the result of a number of PBs. So if you want an organisation that achieves the remarkable and creates WOW! you need to recognise that ‘Every Individual Matters.’
If you like what you have read contact me today for a free 30 minute conversation about how my ‘Every Individual Matters’ Model can provide the catalyst to help you create an organisational culture of ‘Love at Work’ : one where everyone cares and the business becomes our business, so embracing change and transforming – and sustaining – organisational performance.
Bay is the founder and director of Zealise, and the creator of the ‘Every Individual Matters’ organisational culture model that helps transform organisational performance and bottom-line results. Bay is also the author of several books, including “Lean Organisations Need FAT People” and “The 7 Deadly Toxins of Employee Engagement” and, more recently, The Democracy Delusion: How to Restore True Democracy and Stop Being Duped.