Lizzy Yarnold won gold despite a breathing illness and bad form

Lizzy Yarnold showed the character that many leaders would love to see from their talent.

It is argued that fear of failure within corporates hinders such courage.

We have all heard from Leadership and Development (L&D) Directors and Managers that their strategies and processes are effective. But if so, why is average employee productivity falling? Why are so few emerging leaders breaking through? Why is there such a fear of failure in corporate life? Why are more opting to work on a freelance basis? Why also is there such a lack of trust in companies?


The truth is that the development of leaders and talent has not been good enough. L&D is not about online learning, knowledge, training courses or strategies but needs to be about real life and focused on teams and people.

Of course, there is a good counter argument but there is no hiding place from the statistics and the truth is that change is needed. As strange as it may sound, it could just be that L&D needs changing and that many are just not in tune with what’s needed.

We have both a radical idea to propose but also a logical process that can help support personal development.

1. The Radical Idea – retiring top sports players can be part of the process and bring a different focus to the development of human capita and talent. Many believe that both Human Resources and L&D is often too hands off and strategic rather than really focused on making individuals feel valued and important.

There is much corporate culture can learn from sport. To be successful in sport, individuals need to face adversity, be personally accountable and accept both success and failure. Top sports players will tell you that failure is good as it is through mistakes that one can learn and succeed. They will also tell you that all team members need to feel valued and respected. Add in the fact that many retiring sports players are enthused about adding value, giving back and nurturing young talent and logic does suggest that there is a great talent resource that can a genuine difference to businesses.

This idea will have a push back but again few can argue that the present is good enough and way too often L&D argue that they know best. They truly don’t. The world is changing and we all need to learn new ideas and think differently. So why not employ a top sports player to work on culture, on productivity and with talent?

Sport was developed for recreation but was introduced into schools originally in order to teach leadership. So why not introduce able sporting figures into business to do the same?

2. The development of International Walks – Italy, France and Austria – to give talent the challenge of supporting charity, embracing local cultures, learning and building new friendships. Little can be more important.

It is time to find new answers. The existing processes are not succeeding and the truth is that talent need more. The answers exist. So does the proven expertise.

It may sound radical to use a former sports players as a key member of Human Resources but it really should be about teams, cultures and individual support and care.