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Want High Performance? Use the Strategies That Motivate Olympic Athletes


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Want High Performance? Use the Strategies That Motivate Olympic Athletes

What would happen if all your employees came to work each day with the drive and determination of Olympic athletes? Something positive, for sure! At the individual level, your employees would be delivering outstanding performance. Olympic athletes strive to always give their best individual performance. At the team level, your employees would be doing what’s necessary to help the team achieve its goals. Olympic athletes willingly work together to deliver the best scores for the team. This kind of performance produces positive results at both levels:  individual and team. 

Of course, the overriding focus at the Olympics is on “winning.”  However, the athletes are motivated by different things. Some want to win for their Country. Some want to win for personal achievement. Some want to win for their team. And some want to win for a combination of reasons. You can encourage your employees to strive for higher levels of performance by using the motivating strategies of Olympic athletes. These three Performance Motivators can help you explain to your employees why they should do a great job:

Performance Motivator 1:  Work For The Good Of The Organization

Some Olympic athletes try to win a Medal for their Country. They are proud of their Country and want to represent them well. Do your employees feel the same way about your organization? If they do, that’s great! If not, then you have some work to do. Start by trying these four things:

1. Explain the importance of your organization’s mission, vision, and values.

2. Explain how individual performance positively impacts your organization’s mission, vision, and values.

3. Explain how your organization’s products and services benefit customers and the community.

4. Explain how individual performance helps your organization deliver products and services that benefit customers and the community.

Performance Motivator 2: Work For The Good Of The Team

Some Olympic athletes will do whatever is necessary to help the team win. Sometimes this means playing one specific role. Other times it means filling in when someone else is injured. It could also mean just sitting on the sidelines while others perform. These athletes want to work for the good of the team because they support what the team is trying to achieve. To encourage this kind of teamwork from your employees, do these four things:

1. Explain the importance of team goals.

2. Explain how individual performance positively impacts the achievement of team goals.

3. Explain how team products and services benefit customers and the community.

4. Explain how individual performance helps the team deliver products and services that benefit customers and the community.

Performance Motivator 3: Work For Yourself

Some athletes have something they are trying to prove to themselves. Perhaps they have tried to win a Medal but failed. Or maybe they have won one Medal and want two. Better yet, maybe they just have a personal desire to excel. Bottom line, these athletes have personal and professional goals. Your employees have goals as well. They may not be striving for a Gold Medal, but they are striving for something. Inspire your employees to pursue their goals by doing these four things:

1. Explain that you support the achievement of their individual goals.

2. Explain how individual performance impacts the achievement of individual goals.

3. Explain how organizational success can impact the achievement of individual goals.

4. Explain how team success can impact the achievement of individual goals.

An Olympic Focus Is A High Performance Focus

While your employees may not perform like Olympic athletes, you can inspire higher levels of performance by using the strategies these athletes use to keep motivated. Olympic athletes work for themselves and for their team. Your employees will do the same. You just have to explain how high performance can lead to positive results for the individual, the team, and the organization. This article gives you the tools to do that.

So the next time you are ready to talk about the importance of high performance, think Michael Phelps!  I bet you will be motivated and your employees will be too.

Dr. Barbara Brown trains, writes, and consults on strategies to enhance and improve workplace performance.

 
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