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How to create a gold medal winning business culture

February 27, 2017

For many business owners and entrepreneurs, it can be hard to motivate your employees and encourage them to perform to optimal levels, especially when resources are limited.

Olympics athletes not only have to train extremely hard but are also faced with huge financial burdens and limited resources and often rely on sponsorship to maintain a standard of living. Yet, Team GB still enjoyed great success at the London and Rio Olympics!

So what are the real reasons for their success? How did they manage to bring the country together, and more importantly, how can their winning success help you turn your business into a winner? Adam Strong reveals the secrets of creating a winning culture;

What if you could turn your employees into Olympics athletes? How would they feel? And what impact would a winning culture have on your clients and customers?

As a former elite athlete who trained with Mo Farah, I have been lucky enough to study and train with some of the best athletes in the country. I have found huge correlations between what athletes want to achieve and what business want to achieve. Here is what I have learned:

1. Set clear goals

One of the biggest barriers to performance is a lack of clarity and purpose. What are we trying to achieve? And why?

Our team members will have their own personal goals that they want to achieve, so if you want to realise your business goals then it’s a good idea to take an interest in what your team wants to accomplish, then gel the two together so it becomes a win-win situation.

2. Visualise

Successful business ownerOne of the biggest keys to Mo Farah’s success is his ability to visualise how he wants to win. He does this by running the race in his head, from the pace he wants to go at, to how he is feeling at each checkpoint and the environments he must adapt too.

This gives him a huge competitive edge because Mo has already won the race without running a single mile.

3. Reverse engineer everything

If you want your business to become successful, you must treat it in the same way as you construct Lego models from scratch.

To achieve a business goal or complete a project then have the end goal in mind, and break it down into small, bite-sized chunks to make it more achievable.

4. Learn from your failures

Elon Musk has had more failures than most, including being forced to step down as CEO of Paypal in 2000, a near death experience a few years later, his project Space X failing three times leaving him only enough money to launch one more time nearing bankruptcy, and Teslar cars that came close to shutting down in 2008 because the design costs doubled.

As an entrepreneur, I have made many mistakes that cost me time and money, but it’s those mistakes that helped me become more successful.

Learning from your mistakes at the beginning will have a huge competitive advantage because the more mistakes you make later down the line the more it with cost you. As Elon Musk says: “If you’re not failing, you’re not innovating enough”.

5. Hire people with great attitudes

When I think of a company that has employees with great attitudes I think ‘Virgin’. Most companies use the old style of recruiting based on hiring people because of their qualifications and experience.

Richard Branson is known for hiring people without specific skillets and experience because they have a great attitude – he’s fully aware that skills can be taught.

You must build on each individual’s strengths, which allows your team to flourish, keeping morale high and complimenting what each individual brings to the team.

6. Assemble a team of heroes

When Mo Farah won the 2012 double Olympic gold in 5,000 and 10,000 metres he had a team to support him all the way to the top. His wife Tania, his coaches, The Nike academy in Portland, Oregon, his team mates and fans – they all supported his success.

You, too, can build a support team to help pursue your goals, find mini-ambassadors who support what you do and are proud to represent you and your business.

7. Never give up

Running a small business is tough and I’m sure there have been times when you’ve felt like giving up to find a ‘safe and secure job’.

Michael Phelps didn’t always win silver or gold, he suffered from injuries that affected his training regime, and he got arrested for driving whilst being intoxicated under the age of 21. At one point at the Beijing Olympics his goggles leaked and he was unable to see yet finished the race (and won) by simply counting his strokes.

You will have setbacks; Phelps persevered and never gave up on his dreams of becoming a sporting legend in his sport. I use this example whenever I’m faced with someone struggling to keep going when being your own boss gets really tough.

The most important lesson to learn is that if you want to achieve your goals you can never give up! There are going to be setbacks but you must push through them in the pursuit of your true desires.

Michael Phelps is a great example of what humans can accomplish and he is a strong role model to give you the motivation and inspiration as a pathway to success. To achieve success in your business, remember to treat the journey as a marathon not a sprint.

8. Get a coach

My first coach when Mo Farah and I trained together was Alex Mcgee; he was a fantastic coach. Not only did he help us compete with some of the most talented athletes in the country, he gave us a foundation. He knew exactly how to transform highly talented individuals into winners.

It’s the same with business; find a mentor or a coach that can give you and your team the advice to accelerate your learning, enabling your business to grow faster.

There are lots of people out there claiming to be a coach, but make sure you pick a coach who has business experience, a proven track record and do your due diligence. I have three different coaches specialising in different areas of my business; find one that works for you.

About the author

This guide has been written exclusively for ByteStart by Adam Strong, CEO of Elite Corporate Fitness. Adam is a former elite athlete, entrepreneur, corporate productivity authority, author and speaker. His latest book, Fit Body, Fit Business published January 2017 (Filament Publishing, £14.99) is available to buy online and in all good bookshops.

More on developing your business culture

You can find lots more advice on getting the best out of yourself and your team, in these other ByteStart guides;