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BBC Sports Personality of the Year – looking behind the glory of last night’s event

Last night’s awards ceremony was a suitably spectacular occasion marking the achievements of the best of British sportsmanship in 2012. What a year for Britain and I send ­huge congratulations to Bradley Wiggins, Jessica Ennis and Andy Murray for topping the nominations list – I’d also like to add tribute to those other nine showcased last night. All of these sportspeople are at the pinnacle of their success and the event marked how the elements have come together for them and British sport in 2012.

I can’t help but look behind the scenes of this glorious event and think back to the many years of sheer hard work they have put in, to consider what British businesses, who are striving to be the best in their fields, could learn from this. Each of these sportsmen have spent hours and hours focusing on some world-class basics to get to the top of their game; learning core skills and techniques followed by the constant repetition of training to make sure these skills are honed to perfection, when it really matters. The reward: they are now operating in the world of elite sport, world-class sportspeople renowned for their success and achievements.

Recurring phrases from these sportspeople last night referenced the immense pressure each faced during the year and the need to focus, perform and excel under this pressure; the need to come back when things didn’t come together and make sure that next time they still had the winning mindset at the fore. As business leaders and managers, does this inspire you to ask whether you have the world-class basics in place to ensure your business can fulfill its potential, especially when the going gets tough? My observation would be to keep it very simple and to ask yourself one question: what difference would it make to your business if you embraced the practices of elite sportspeople and committed to honing your leadership and business skills through training, coaching and (constant) repetition.

At Gazing Performance Systems, we feel ‘world-class business basics’ fit well into the following three areas:

1: Structures

a) a simple, clear business direction or purpose that everyone in the team (or organisation) can understand and is aligned with.

b) core business processes are defined and clear roles allocated to manage and work those processes.

c) visible measures of progress and success (i.e. for both process and results) that are clearly and regularly communicated.

2: Skillset

a) the required knowledge around the market, environment, competitors and your product is available in a useable format.

b) the core skills needed across different areas of the business have been identified, and recruited if necessary and developed.

c) a comprehensive, rigorous and ongoing strategy exists for people to practice and develop their core skills.

3: MindSet

a) the organisational and individual focus is on the elements that can be controlled or influenced, and people are not diverted by things that they cannot control.

b) expectations of individuals and teams are clearly communicated by a senior team that ‘sets the tone’ through doing what they said they would do.

c) the required behaviours and results are consistently recognised and rewarded in order to create an environment, that people and teams wish to be part of.

Of course these are just my thoughts and there will probably be variation by company type and geography. However the concept is a strong one and can become truly inspiring if the final piece of the jigsaw is also in place. Observations of teams and organisations with track records of clear and sustained performance seem to display one additional and highly notable characteristic. That of ‘disciplined execution’. Whether it is their strategic direction, a critical business process or an action plan to respond to a performance issues, it is executed as planned. The final basic!

Too simple? Perhaps we should ask Bradley, Jessica, or Andy what they believe. I am sure there are organisations succeeding even without ‘world class basics’. There will certainly be people who will tell you it’s more complex than that (particularly those that get paid to add and create complexity!) However, the notion of ‘world class basics’ certainly applies as a critical component of performance at the highest level in sport. As the pressure increases, it is often the individual and team ability to execute their basics that sustain them. Maybe business is more complicated than that, but to me it certainly feels like a pretty good place to start?

Martin Fairn, CEO, Gazing Performance Systems

www.gazing.com

@gazingtraining

 

 

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7.2.1 Privacy Policy

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