Do you have a Performance Director in your business?

The London Olympics 2012 have been an outstanding success and, in addition to the amazing performance of the athletes, this has been down to:

  • The organising committee – LOCOG
  • The games makers
  • The British public attending the events
  • The teams supporting the Olympians including the Performance Directors and Coaches

We talk about the legacy of the games and inspiring a generation. I believe that the legacy extends way beyond sport, health and wellbeing.

The games were also an opportunity to attract international investment for business in the UK. David Cameron is quoted as saying ‘Over a decade we can use the Olympics to bring home business worth £13 billion.’

So does this all happen on a global scale and out of the hands of the majority of UK businesses?

One lesson that I believe we can learn from the Olympics, as part of the legacy, is that of achieving medal-winning performance. This was the first time that I had come across the role of Performance Director. Here is an extract from a job advert I discovered for the role of Performance Director for British Triathlon

“We are seeking a leader who has the creativity, passion and the vision to develop the strategic direction, inspire and engage and drive the shared vision to achieve sustainable, world-leading performance at all levels. Your experience in delivering excellence will build confidence that this vision can be delivered, enhancing performance throughout our GB Triathlon teams….

You will be a leader with the ability to develop a shared vision and build a strategy around that vision. You will have the skills to build, manage, inspire and engage the teams to deliver that vision. Strong interpersonal and communication skills and the proven ability to lead a diverse, highly skilled team are essential.”

These Performance Directors seem to work at a strategic level with Performance Coaches working with individual athletes. Together they bring the best out of people to help them perform at their absolute best.

Who is The Performance Director in your business and who are the coaches? If you are a medium-sized or larger business then these roles are probably picked up by Directors, Senior Managers and your HR or training manager.

What are their skills and capabilities in these roles and how much time do they devote to this?

I do not consider that, in most organisations, we pay as much attention to this or do as much of this as we do in sport and yet the success and posterity of this country and our economy relies more on how we perform in business than how we perform in sport.

Focus on the performance of our people has also probably weakened/lessened during the recession as it is seen as a ‘luxury’ and something that is easily removed from the budget.

Let’s take the lessons that we can from Team GB’s sports performance and translate it into the business environment. The legacy of the Olympics will then be economic recovery and economic prosperity.

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