With Team GB touching down on British soil, BBC TV back to its normal schedule and Rio pausing before the Paralympics starts next month, the Olympics is over for another four years. 

We're all aware by now how successful our British Olympians were during the 16-day global sporting spectacle in Brazil.  With most people able to recall the names of gold medal winners like their favourite footballers or bands, it's safe to say that we are all revelling in the success.  But what has Team GB taught us? What is their success down to?

It's well-known that UK Sport via National Lottery funding has invested millions into elite sports but it's one thing having money to invest and another to get the best out of it. 

UK Sport's strategy was based on not backing highly-talented individuals but strategically looking for sports in which Britain had a serious chance of performing strongly and winning medals.  Take British Cycling for example, and its flow of gold medals and world records in the last three Olympic Games.

This highly-focused strategy is driven by coaches and athletes being very clear about their objective (winning Olympic medals) and desired outcome (becoming unbeatable) . To achieve this, they have focused their efforts 100 per cent on winning at this most high-profile event – rather than spreading themselves thinly over the many other competitions that exist but achieve much lower global audiences. 

This specific targeting helped our British sportsmen and sportswomen to focus solely on achieving their objective whilst the National Lottery money helped to provide them with financial security, an enhanced training system and the best coaches in the world.

Prior to Rio, the athletes’ hard work and determination was focused on not only winning but winning convincingly.  Their drive to win medals shows that it’s important to base the business case on tangible or quantifiable benefits.  It drives people to achieve results for themselves and for their organisation, be that Team GB or a successful business. 

As communication specialists, our job is to be just as focused.  We need to help businesses be crystal clear about what they want commercially, who they need to reach to achieve it, how they want to be perceived and what messages they need to support that. 

Clear, achievable commercial goals underpinned by a focused communications plan should if executed correctly lead not only to an improved bottom line but also to greater employee engagement and a real sense of pride and ownership throughout the organisation.

We might need to wait another four years for Team GB’s Olympic success in Tokyo, but their approach to winning is something that we can all apply now.

Parv Gandham headshot

Parv Gandham is an account manager at Camargue.

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