Are you like me and glued to your television during the Olympics? With the London 2012 Summer Olympics almost here, I’m always amazed at what these athletes are able to do. I watch, in awe, as they perform impossible feats and wonder how they do it. But really, a lot of what they do can be applied to the workplace. In fact, we discuss these performance factors in great detail in our Training Needs Analysis workshop. Let’s consider the following:
Training – Athletes are extremely devoted to their sport and take training very seriously. It is estimated that world-class athletes train an average of 23 hours a week. Some would also argue that the best athletes come from countries that invest heavily into training their people.
How many hours, or training dollars, a year do you invest in your employees? And what kind of training are you offering? Is it directly tied to the skills and competencies required for their job? After all, how can we expect them to give their best or be their best without the right training in place?
Standards and Measurement – All athletes are very clear about what is expected of them and what they are supposed to accomplish. In addition, all athletes have measurements in place to compare their performance to the standard. It may be how high they jump or how fast they swim but every athlete has a method to measure themselves. They can attempt to beat their personal best or compare their results with other athletes.
Do your people know what’s expected of them in their jobs? This is one of the biggest reasons why we see gaps in performance in the workplace. Without clear expectations, you have nothing to measure, give feedback on, or know what resources or training to provide.
Feedback – Athletes work with diligent coaches who are constantly informing them about what they are doing well and where they must improve.
Do your employees know how well they are doing? Are you diligently coaching and mentoring as problems occur or do they have to wait for their yearly performance review?
Incentive/Motivation – At the end of every event, the top three athletes are presented with either a gold, silver, or bronze medal, in front of their fellow competitors. They don’t have to wait months for a bonus or other perk to be rewarded for their performance.
Are you rewarding your employees? Now, obviously, we aren’t going to hand out medals at work, but there are other components to motivation, which include showing respect for employees, making jobs interesting, and giving sincere praise and recognition for a job well done.
With the right pieces in place, your people can also reach for their personal best. What are you doing in your organization to encourage gold medal-worthy performance?