Improving performanceI’ve spent quite a lot of time recently watching the Rio Olympics.  I have justified this to myself on the basis that it only happens once every 4 years and Team GB did not disappointed.  By the end of the games we were second in the medal table behind the USA and I would defy anyone not to be proud of our teams achievements.

However sometimes it can be easy to think they made that look easy, but dot forget how much time, effort, determination, hard work and money has been invested in Team GB over the last 20 years.

Our low point came in the Atlanta Games in 1996 when Team GB, with just over 300 athletes brought home 17 medals (with only 1 Gold). We were ranked 36 out of 197 competing nations – not a great result for a seemingly wealthy nation in comparison to many of our competitors. So what was going wrong?

As things would have it our poor medal haul was to be the turning point in our Olympic journey. Team GB realized we could not longer do it on a part-time basis. We needed to invest time and money, like many of the other nations into our athlete’s. Lottery funding started to be channeled into the sports, enabling athletes to spend time focusing on their sports, rather than having to fit it around the day job. They were able to focus on what was to become their main job – succeeding at being great athletes.

So what has this got to do with business and in particular your business? Well when you look back at 2016 so far, are you satisfied with what you’ve achieved?   A little reflection is always useful but what can we learn from our Olympians that might just make a difference in our business and to our futures?

Like any good business you’ll have big plans for the rest of the year. You’ve got targets to meet and goals to smash, but how are you going to make sure your plans become a reality? You’re need to give some serious consideration to how you’ll make sure you get there and the one key way for you to achieve that is by getting the best out of your staff.

I appreciate your team isn’t training for an Olympics, but they are absolutely key to helping you deliver the results your looking for. This message was reinforced recently when I went to a talk by a local business women who was sharing her experience of growing her business and had gone on to win 6 awards in the last year. She recognized in particular one thing that had helped her achieve that success and that was her team. The quote she used, was:


Now you might be the best Marketer, Architect, Accountant or IT Consultant but you can’t be all things to all people, at all times. To grow your business and realise your vision, you need other people to be part of that journey and those people who are on that journey with you need to be consistency giving their best performance.

However we all know that’s much easier said than done. Every business owner knows improving performance could be key to overall growth and success, but where do you start? So I thought I’d some strategies with you to help make that a reality.

Provide challenges that are stretching but achievable

No one ever achieved great things by just coasting along without a challenge (look at the likes of Mo Farah and how hard he has trained to become a 4 times gold medal winner). People should be stretched and that includes your employees, but there’s a fine balance to strike. Give them too much to handle, and you’re not going to get the desired outcome. Look at your staff’s performance objectives, and consider whether they’re really fit for purpose.

But remember this isn’t all down to you. Your managers play a massive part in making this a success. They know their team members best, and so you need to make sure that they’re capable of helping them set goals, and just as importantly, ensuring that they believe that they can achieve them.

Make clear the value of the work outside the context of the business

Having read various business books, when it comes to managing a team the best practice approach is all about encouraging everyone to realise how their work helps the business grow and meet its objectives. In other words, your staff need to understand how what they’re doing fits into the bigger picture.

So why not take this a step further? Are your staff aware of how their work makes a worthwhile contribution, profits and growth aside? Most businesses have some kind of social impact, and this can often be a great motivator for staff, particularly our millennial’s. Does your business make a positive contribution to the community? Are you changing the lives of your customers and clients? If so share it and make it part of what you do for your clients and your team.

Recognise achievements as part of day-to-day business

Most of us get huge amounts of personal satisfaction from simply knowing we’ve done a good job. Often, this alone encourages us to strive to be even better. But let’s be completely honest here. Most of us also enjoy being suitably rewarded for our efforts.

It’s easy to think that this is all about financial incentives, but this isn’t necessarily the case.

  • Think about rewards that are proportionate to the achievement.
  • About applying the same principles across the board.
  • Considering your reward processes as a whole, rather than just worrying about budget restraints.

Ultimately, it’s about getting to the stage where ‘end-of-year performance reviews’ aren’t just a one-off activity, but part of on-going regular discussions with your staff.

Performance is important, and this is your chance to make sure you lay the right foundations for helping your team and business succeed.

So if you looking to grow your business and are worried your employees’ performance could be damaging your business, then we can help. Get in touch today and let the team @GoldHR show you how we can help make sure your firing on all cylinders.