How UK business could learn from the Olympics legacy


Is British business learning lessons from the legacy of the Olympics and is it putting into practice the thorough approach that made our sporting heroes the envy of the world? When you walk through that door to work in the morning – what are your goals, are you prepared, are you operating efficiently, do you have all the resources to deliver what you need to deliver, are you resilient to cope with the situations that will be thrown at you, are you maximising every opportunity, and is your personal development designed to optimise corporate performance when it matters – or is it a tick box from HR?

At an event on the Olympics Legacy being run next week by Ashridge Business School at Lord’s Cricket Ground, Cath Bishop, a rowing world championships gold medal winner and silver medallist at the 2004 Olympics, examines why UK sports has struck the pot of gold and how the factors that triggered this could help business to be more consistently successful.

She says: “Viewers may have sat back, thrilled at the achievements at the London games. Many may not have realised that behind every winner and every finalist there was a carefully calculated system of thorough preparation to make it happen.

“Ten to fifteen years ago our athletes were training with just as much effort and dedication as those that won medals at London. Yet our record of success was patchy and hard to predict.

“It wasn’t just the odd individual who did well at London, we’re talking about more than a hundred athletes standing on the podium and a similar number coming in close behind that. It was about a whole system: the sports science, the physical and mental preparation, the honest feedback and resilience, the meticulous attention to detail and all of this wrapped up within a clear vision and passion for the Olympics.

“Now, we should look at how to translate these success factors into our businesses and our organisations,” she emphasises.

Cath will also highlight at the Ashridge event the numerous cases of medal winners who had years where they failed to perform highly, perhaps struggling with illness or injury or underperformance. But the sophisticated systems now in place across Olympic sports in the UK have enabled them to develop to reach the pinnacle of every sportsman’s career at the Olympics.

“With all the pressures to optimise performance in the corporate world, businesses can’t afford to underestimate the capabilities across their organisations or allow staff not to reach their full potential,” she adds.

In other words, the Olympics legacy has a huge amount to offer business.