One of the enduring themes of the Olympic Games is the way in which success breeds success. The first medal, the first victory, even the first ‘personal-best’ inspires and encourages the entire team to reach for glory.
Commentators talk about the board in the athletes village which tells the unfolding tale of ever more victories and the way in which each one inspires the next. But what is perhaps most notable of all is the way in which sportspeople from across the disciplines unite in a common bond. They mingle in the hallways and canteens, they share training hints and tips, and they delight in each other’s successes.
Whilst we as spectators marvel at success and play our part in cheering on the team, we may not always fully appreciate the years of dedication and sacrifice which has gone into every performance. Whether it be cyclists battling for hours on the roads of Rio or divers taking mere seconds to complete the journey from board to green pool; every athlete has worked on fitness and nutrition, training their bodies and their minds in order to deliver the best performance which they are capable of.
Like everything else in life, sport doesn’t stand still. Records are broken thanks to new approaches and innovations. And whilst one athlete may stand on the podium, they are backed by an entire team all working hard to envisage what is possible in order to deliver success.
It’s a formula which innovative businesses also share. The idea of collaboration and teamwork, of looking for new ideas and new approaches in order to solve genuine problems and deliver successful outcomes. Look at business which have successfully built and embraced a culture of innovation and you will see engaged employees working together towards a common goal and celebrating each other successes.
Admittedly not everyone within Team GB will come home with a medal or even a personal best performance. But even here there are lessons to be learnt. Listen to the post competition interviews and you will hear the athletes talking about learning points, of needing to work further on particular aspects of their sport, of using the experience to deliver improvements in their next competition. Here again there are strong parallels with cultures of innovation in which failures are learning points rather than causes for censure.
You won’t deliver success simply by talking about it and true success will necessarily arrive in an instant. But if you have clear goals and are prepared to work hard, to collaborate and innovate and to build a culture of success then great things can happen.