Is your team striving for gold?
Being an athlete isn’t just about turning up to ‘train’. A lot of thinking, planning, goal setting and preparation also goes in to it.
Part of being a professional athlete meant my life was very much planned out. Every day, of every week, of every month throughout the entire year would be planned so that I could perform and achieve the best results. An essential part of this planning would include goal setting. When I say that I don’t just mean the ultimate goal of becoming an Olympian. There would be millions of small goals and visions around training, conditioning, eating, social life which would culminate ultimately in peak performance.
Each goal set would be a ‘SMART’ goal – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time focused. This would even include some unusual testing such as a skin fold test. A test where they measure how much fat to muscle you have on your body. We would have a certain time frame to make adjustments and we would need to be realistic on whether that was achievable to reach the desired results. This is just one of many examples!
I spent my life aiming for goals and setting targets.
It was embedded in me from such a young age that even now 6 years later after retirement I can say that the thinking is still the same even though the goals have changed.
Goals are very powerful, they focus our attention on what we want to achieve and how we want to achieve it. They are key to us ultimately being successful.
Having had a small insight in to the corporate world it would seem that goal setting is harder to do if it is indeed done at all. Setting goals helps give people a structure, direction and it keeps a higher level of motivation. It also holds people accountable to themselves and others. It’s proven that people who have goals are also much happier.
Goal setting was never something I did alone. It was a shared vision and responsibility between my coach and his team. We would all contribute and guide each other as much as possible towards the right goals. Sharing this would mean that we were all on the same page and knew exactly what we were striving for individually and collectively. This is something so important which leaders within businesses can lead on. They can deliver and drive the values, goals, culture and objectives of the business. They need to be able to listen and let the team contribute.
A great leader who can do this will easily then have their supporters and a successful team and business.
Once goals are set then the hard work and dedication is required to succeed. However, it is realistic that not every goal I set I achieved, but this then required me to set more goals to ensure that next time would result in a more successful outcome. Neither my team or I saw this as a failure, just something to learn and improve the next time.
Goals which are successfully achieved should always be celebrated in some way. Good work requires praise.
I know that when I am praised for achieving it makes me feel proud and more encouraged, productive and keeps me striving for more.
Business leaders who work with individuals and teams just as coaches work with athletes to set goals and celebrate success, will build strong, passionate, productive teams, all striving for their own vision of an Olympic gold medal.