I don’t know about you, but I feel a bit lost now that the Olympics is over and the Paralympics have yet to start.

Last week I posted on social media about the GB women’s hockey team performance, after they had won their gold medal.

GB Womens Hockey gold squad

The gold medal winning team (Image taken from www.skysports.com)

It was a truly outstanding team performance, but I started to reflect on what specifically made it so great and what you can learn from it and apply to business.

1 – Belief

The first thing that stood out to me, from the pre-Olympic interview (between Clare Balding and three of the hockey team: Kate Richardson-Walsh, Maddie Hinch and Georgie Twigg) and throughout the tournament, was that they had a collective belief in what they wanted to achieve.

In the interview the team talked about winning the Olympic gold, it was their shared purpose as a squad, and everyone believed that it was possible.

2 – Leadership

There were a couple of notable things on the leadership.

Consider Danny Kerry as manager, he sat in the stand throughout each match. Not only could he get the better view of what was happening across the pitch, it showed a level of trust in his players to know what they were doing with little input from him. He didn’t feel the need to stay pitch side to exert his influence.

Then the captain Kate Richardson-Walsh was a great example of a positive leader.  Whenever any of the interviewers spoke to her post match she was always quick to praise ‘all the girls’, directing the personal praise she was getting out to include everyone else.

3 – Everyone together

There was an evident connection between everyone in the team and there was no one ‘star’ of the show. What I mean by that, was that all the players had their own part in the success of each match. This was evidenced by the fact that there were multiple different names on the score sheet over the course of the tournament.

There was no one ‘leading goal scorer’, as can often be the case, who the team were reliant upon. This not only made it harder for the opposing teams to predict strategy, but also increased the connection between the individuals in the squad.  It was about team success and the glory that gave, not individual goal scoring glory.

4 – One step at a time

In every post-match interview the comment was always, on to the next match.

Rather than talking about winning the gold, the approach the team took was that of winning one game at a time.  The planning and preparation all featured around the next opposing team to be faced.  In fact before the ‘push-back’ on Friday night the hashtag #onemoregame was trending on twitter as the nation got behind the team.

Then during the gold medal match itself, we saw the same ‘one step at a time’ approach come into effect again. Only the squad will know if the strategy was always to be the first team to score, but assuming it was then they achieved that step.  Then each time their opposition scored a goal, it was the invitation for GB to score again. Even in the penalty shoot-out there was evidence of taking it one step at a time.  Throughout all of this the words that came to mind to me were mental resilience to keep calm and carry on through the steps.

I guess it comes back to the self-belief that the medal was theirs to win.

So how do you apply this to your business?

Ask yourself…

  • Do you and your team have a shared purpose? Does everyone believe it is possible?
  • When things go well in the business do you share the success with your team? Do you ‘beam the light’ across everyone in the team or ‘stand in the spotlight’ yourself?
  • Do you have ‘leading goal scorer’? Is there that one person who you go to on a regular basis when you want things done? Or do you have a team of people that you can call upon to help?
  • When planning for your success are you working for the ‘Olympic gold’ or are you working one ‘game’ or stage at a time to get you to the overall mission? It is much easier to maintain motivation when you are achieving success, no matter how small, building up your own mental resilience.

If you want help in building your team then get in touch with me, I would love to be part of your team success.