Can L&D replicate Team GB’s Rio Olympics success?

In part one, we looked at some of the things that drive an Olympic athlete to success. In this second part, we look at the eight things that L&D can do to replicate the successes within their teams and the organisations that they support.

Mo Farah celebrates with his gold medals after winning the Men’s 5000m and 10,000m at the Olympic Stadium. Photo credit: Martin Rickett / PA

Harness the passions of others. We are all passionate about something. Look for what makes people passionate, it’s a gateway to their motivations. Much like the Olympic athlete, passion can be used in the workplace to drive performance. Investigate what drives the people in your organisation to do what they do and consider how you can help those that seem to have lost their passion for learning or even their work in general. 

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Set clear goals and provide regular opportunities for review and feedback. Involve others in goal setting and seek to obtain regular feedback from others to track performance.  Its likely goal setting already happens in your organisation on a similar 4 year cycle so take the opportunity to review it with your L&D teams and with the individuals it is affecting. Use data over the period of a strategic plan to ensure you reach your targets at the end of the cycle and don’t afraid to re-plan.

Finally L&D can inspire others to dream big. A 12-year-old Amy Tinkler in 2012 didn’t become the second British female gymnast in history to get a bronze medal during Rio 2016 without dreaming and believing she could achieve it.

Be diverse. Provide opportunities that all can be involved and achieve in. If you are like me then you got into L&D because of a belief that everyone has the potential to succeed and so it is my belief that the L&D and most organisations are already working hard to ensure opportunities are available for everyone. I suppose then the reason for including Diversity as a learning point is to remind us that there is always more we can do.

Create shared experiences. Get to know your team and make friends with them. Whether you are part of a large global team or a lone ranger, the Olympics demonstrates the need for teams that work closely together towards clearly defined shared goals. 

To really get the most from our organisational teams, L&D should look at ways to find common ground and to provide opportunities for teams to work together as much as possible. It needs to find opportunities to make learning and work, fun and active and its goal must motivate all involved.

Make learning difficult. Stretch and challenge people when learning. It’s unlikely to be learning if you don’t. In developing its people, L&D should look to provide opportunities for individuals to challenge themselves and to set standards that are difficult and worthwhile. According to Csikszentmihalyi, not only will this create the required attention needed to complete the activity, individuals are more likely to be happier when achieving them.

Embrace Technology. Use it to aid performance. As L&D continues its quest in technology, it will be equally important to consider the human aspect and must ensure that the individuals have the ability to use it. Remember, in the end the human is the key to ultimate performance.

Reward achievements. Ensure adequate recognition of achievements. If L&D is to be successful in helping teams and individuals perform to their best and motivate them to set their own challenges, the reason for doing it has to be clear and above all a worthwhile investment. 

A reward not only provides a sense of self pride, but also recognition from others for achieving what you set out to do, making an individual more self-aware and raising their self-esteem.

Celebrate Success. Allow the individuals to get motivated by the successes of others. Take the opportunity to celebrate successes of L&D and the organisation. Make the achievements of others public and work out loud with pride, so that others can be motivated by your success.


About the author

James Hampton is the Learning and Development Manager at Gloucestershire College.


Read part one

Can L&D learn from Team GB’s Olympic successes and drive organisational performance?


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