Before the Goldrush


5 key learning points from Rio

It is hard to get your head around the achievements of Team GB these last couple of weeks.  Those of us who are old enough may remember getting up early in the morning to watch David Hemery win Britain’s solitary gold on the track in Mexico, and the stir that created.  20 years ago in Atlanta the haul was one solitary gold medal for the whole games.  The role of the eternal also-ran seemed ours for the taking, GB were simply not able to compete with others.  Set against this backdrop, the performances at these games and the sheer dominance in some events, seem unreal.

These changes haven’t happened overnight though and it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise when tracking each subsequent games up to London 2012.  It takes time to develop greatness.

So what is needed to achieve high performance?

  1. Investment – the correlation between lottery money and success is undeniable, if we want to be successful we need to invest. For business this could mean money but it also means investing time and effort to help people excel.
  2. Knowing what Good looks like – setting targets and goals has helped Team GB and the teams within.  Setting out clear expectations of individuals and making tough decisions when needed.  Business follows exactly the same principles (or should do).
  3. Going from Good to Great – Dave Brailsford is widely credited with the success in Cycling and you may have heard him talk about “marginal gains”. That means having 1-1 conversations with people to find out all the tiny adjustments that can be made to their environment, that cumulatively lead to success.  Business should do that too, creating optimum conditions so people can be great.
  4. Values – at the heart of the cycling team is a set of core principles, things like “ownership” and “commitment” and these are coached and lived and breathed to create professional athletic behaviours.  Businesses also have core values and the very best ones believe in them and use them to drive professional behaviour.
  5. Feedback – our athletes are possibly the most observed and critiqued people you will ever see, every performance and nuance of performance will be played back, each time providing instant feedback on how to improve.  Business should provide, if not the same level, at least regular instantaneous feedback and conversations about performance.

Of course it isn’t all as straightforward as that and it may take time in business to begin to see a return on all of the above.  But if we start now with our people we may well see some quick wins and, in the words of BBC commentators who insist on turning nouns into verbs, they may even eventually “medal”.

I will be talking more about this on our “Performance Management: Courageous Conversations” at St Helens Chamber on 8th September and there are significant discounts for Chamber members.

Posted by John Drysdale
19th August 2016
John's Blog


Liverpool based training company, No Guru is ‘leading in learning’ as the ILM city region hub

North West employers now have access to professional development qualifications for management, team leaders and supervisory staff as Cotton Exchange based training company, No Guru becomes the Liverpool City Region hub for ILM accreditation.


University Contract extended for 2 Years

Leeds Beckett University relationship extended

We are delighted to announce our current contract to provide Staff Training and Team Building to Leeds Beckett University has been extended a further 2 years.

During the next academic year we will be running new programmes around:

  • Strategic Thinking
  • Leading Change
  • Leading & Empowering People
  • Working to Strengths
  • Designing and Delivering Presentations

Additionally we will continue to work with Teams to deliver on the University Strategic Framework as well as completing our first ILM Level 5 Coaching & Mentoring programme for internal ‘Coaching Champions’.

We would like to thank People Development and everyone at Leeds Beckett for making it a great place to work.


NEW: Even more Online Courses

We’re very pleased to announce new additions to our Online Suite of Training Courses.  We have just added:

  • Anti Harassment and Bullying
  • Effective Delegation
  • Disciplinary Procedures
  • Negotiation

Our course of the week this week is Safeguarding Children.  (more…)


John's Blog

Image Triage – be careful what you post

How to avoid public ‘shaming’

If you’ve ever read Jon Ronson’s book ‘Shamed’, you will know the devastating effect social media can have on people who have posted something stupid on the internet.

Ronson highlights the case of Justine Sacco (a director of corporate communications) who, before boarding an 11-hour flight from Heathrow to Cape Town, Tweeted to her 170 followers what she thought was a series of lighthearted, acerbic comments about her journey. (more…)

Across the great divide

Let’s be kinder to each other in 2017

There is a striking memorial in a park in Indianapolis.  It marks the spot where in April 1968, Robert Kennedy told a waiting crowd that Martin Luther King had been shot and killed, before speaking from the heart and his own personal experience, that violence is never an answer to our grievances.  His calming words quelled the rioting that other cities endured in the days after Dr King’s death and, arguably, saved some lives that night.


The memorial itself is an arresting work of art.  (more…)

Thinking In A World That Doesn’t Think

Arsene Wenger and that letter

A recent item appeared on LinkedIn that made me curious.  You may have seen it.

It purports to show a resignation letter written by a disillusioned employee of Arsenal Football Club, citing his reason for leaving: (more…)