Advance Performance | Achieve Success the Team GB Way!
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Achieve Success the Team GB Way!

Achieve Success the Team GB Way!

Team Great Britain has proved its highest achievements at Rio 2016 – as second(?) on the Medals Table behind the USA and above China, and the athletes reaping the rewards following several years of commitment to training and a very strict health regime.

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So how did Team GB achieve this success and what can we learn from it to adapt to our own companies?

Learning from the lowest point – the only way is up

It is hard to believe now that Team GB won one Gold Medal and came 36th on the Medals Table at the Atlanta Games in 1996, exactly twenty years ago.  Following the humiliation for the team, John Major, the PM, decided to divert a significant amount of lottery funding to sports – in particular elite sports. The aim was to create future medal winners and develop training of the future successful athletes.

At the time, Team GB’s athletes were underfunded, had to hold down “day jobs” so they were unable to commit to their training full time, the coaches were poorly paid and trained, and the infrastructure had little investment and success.

Starting a new goal from your lowest point means the only way is forward. This was the lowest point for Team Great Britain. This initial announcement led to a review of what was working and most importantly, not working in the system. When you are failing, this is the time to review so that you can improve.

Long Term Investment in Elite Athletes, Infrastructure and Excellent Coaching

The investment for elite athletes has been focused through UK Sport since 1996 which targets the funding based on medals potential at the next two Olympics.  This allows UK Sport to predict with a fair degree of accuracy how many medals they will win – basically, the money invested equals medals won.

Investment is directed to the elite athletes and therefore, the lower achievers, even though they may work as hard, do not receive the funding. The sports achieving a higher result will then receive an increased funding in the next four years – it is performance-related pay.

Invest in the best! We have seen the rise of performance-related pay in sales, business, teaching and the NHS to drive excellence and improve achievement within a team a company.

Investing in Infrastructure and Excellent Coaching – UK Sport focused its investments not just with the performers (athletes) but the training grounds, the management and the actual coaches to spark success. So when Adam Peaty received his funding via UK Sport, this paid for his coach to attend an elite coaching programme to maximise the potential in Adam’s training. The infrastructure of British Cycling is renowned with training from grass roots level, competitions building towards the elite levels.

Your best performer will achieve their potential if they have access to the best facilities and highest quality coaching to motivate and challenge them in their goals.

Leadership Excellence – leading the culture from the top down

A culture of excellence has been developed by a generation of performance directors in the sports Britain in recent Games such as Sir Dave Brailsford in cycling, Dave Tanner in rowing, and Stephen Park in sailing.  The key to this drive for performance excellence was the leadership of Peter Keen who created the culture of marginal gains at British Cycling which he planned to overhaul the training and competition achievements throughout cycling – which is now replicated in many other sports.

A culture of excellence in any team and company must be led from the top down. The leader has the vision and the strategy which the rest of the team and company can then replicate. Adopting the culture of marginal gains focuses on the smaller details which leads to continued wider success.

Team Spirit of Cohesiveness and Mentoring

The inclusive positive ethos of Team GB has been infectious during the Rio Games – team mates celebrating each other’s success, mentoring from established Olympians and overall cohesiveness as each team stayed together in the build up of the Games. The Olympics Committee has been in charge of the preparation and encouragement of mentoring and support network. Each team member also took part in a ceremony to receive their tracksuit when they arrived – celebrated by their fellow athletes.

Achieving success as a team is highly motivational and encourages support and enthusiasm as well as challenging to the next level. Celebrating successes of each other in a common purpose is the key to any team’s success whatever the profession and ultimate goal.

Internal Competitiveness

The drive for excellence, mentoring and a common vision has encouraged various teams within Team GB to develop a strong and healthy internal competitiveness or rivalry. Chris Hoy drove on Jason Kenny who is driving on Callum Skinner. Louis Smith’s achievement of Silver Medal in London 2012 has driven an intense rivalry with Max Whitlock who beat Louis by winning Gold in the pommel horse at Rio as well as the Floor Gold Medal.

By encouraging competition between team members in a common vision, this allows the colleagues to motivate each other to improve, and drive their individual results. It encourages competitiveness as individuals with a team purpose and unified result.

At Advance, we always encourage our clients to achieve their best, focus on excellence, encouraging a winning team culture in your team, and challenging yourselves to go that extra mile, and are all key to the successes of Team GB!