This time of the year, many of us are yelling at our television sets.
It isn’t because we’re upset that our favorite reality star was voted off or because we are lamenting the cancellation of our favorite TV shows. It is the yells of, “Go. Go. GO! GO! GO!” as we watch athletes performing at their highest levels at the 2012 Olympic games. As we seek to be top performers in our own fields, here are a few valuable lessons we can learn from them about building gold-medal teams:
Team Members Work in Their Strengths
As a leader, make sure you are delegating tasks with forethought and planning based upon your team’s strengths. Don’t make your weightlifter walk the balance beam, and don’t make your swimmer captain of the table tennis team. A team member working in their strengths will be more likely to perform at higher levels and remain engaged in the project.
A recent Gallup poll said that up to 71% of employees are disengaged at work and estimates the cost of employee disengagement at over $350 billion in lost productivity, accidents, theft and turnover each year. Don’t know or understand the strengths of your team? Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath is a great resource for finding your signature “themes” or strengths.
They Have Clear, Measurable Goals
Each athlete had the long-term goal of competing at the Olympics but before getting to London later this month, there were short term goals that included other competitions and personal benchmarks they needed to meet along the way. In the same way, your team or organization should have short-term and long-term goals clearly articulated and kept in front of the whole team so there is clear direction on where you are all heading. (What is your Olympics?)
There Are Clear Expectations for Accountability & Communication
Athletes are accountable to coaches, sponsors, fans, and to their own families (who have likely sacrificed some of their own dreams for that of the athlete). Is your team on board with communication expectations and points of accountability? Does your team have systems in place to receive feedback from clients? How is that evaluated? Keeping all the key players on your team focused and working toward the same objective will save time, money and frustration and keep you on the road to reaching your goals.
There is a System for Tracking Progress
Hi-tech labs help today’s Olympic athletes reach top performance through different training strategies, diets and even evaluate how different uniforms can impact performance. Top performing teams have systems in place to track how they connect with customers and how products and services are meeting their needs. (Think Google Analytics, evaluations, surveys and social media – all great resources for getting customer feedback.) Creating a system for collecting and analyzing data will help your team see what is working and where you might need to make changes to achieve better performance.
They Celebrate Their Success
Make sure you take time to celebrate the wins – big and small – with your team! It’s important to take time to thank your team and recognize their efforts to help you reach your goals. Consider how you can express appreciation for their efforts. Maybe it’s a morning coffee break with treats, a hand written “thank you” card to each member, or a “kudos” article in your company newsletter. It’s important your team feel a part of the win.
We all want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and to feel a part of a winning team – whether in sports, business or in life! This month we’ll be cheering on our favorite athletes and cheering you as you build your own gold-medal your teams as well!
(Here’s the official 2012 Olympic website in case you want to follow the games.)
We’d love to hear your feedback! What has worked to help you build strong gold medal teams?
Photo by DepositPhotos.
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