An eye on RHPi | Rio reflections: Performance is performance

15th August 2016

Friday, 12 August 

I don’t know about you but I’ve been glued to my TV for the past seven days having well and truly got into the Olympic spirit. In fact, the inspiration for me has gone way beyond the sport.

I’m sure we’ve all heard of the link between high performing athletes and high performing organisations. After London 2012 it’s been a stalwart topic on conference agendas, with the Olympic cycling team’s case study (focussing on marginal gains – you’ve heard it right?) being discussed particularly frequently.

Don’t get me wrong, I think this is inspiring stuff – in fact we’ve used some of the team GB cycling philosophy ourselves in looking for that 1% difference.   Other frequent connections include resilience, preparation and team work. However, having got back into it all over again I’ve noticed some other, lesser spoken of links.

Here’s a few of them:

Creating a vision 

It’s common knowledge that top athletes visualise their success but gold medal divers Jack Laugher and Chris Mears have taken this to the next level. These two live together and on being interviewed after that awe inspiring win told the story of how they’ve kept two empty photo frames on their mantel piece – ready to fill with their gold medal winning photos. Powerful stuff.  I’ve always been a firm believer in creating a strong vision which anyone in your organisation can tell you about but this got me thinking about what our version of that empty frame would be.

Concentrate on one thing at a time

When cyclist Chris Froome gained the bronze medal for the Olympic time trial I’m slightly ashamed to say my first thought was ‘won’t he be disappointed with that?’ I asked one of my cycling mad friends the same question to which he replied with incredible certainty: “Oh no – he chose the Tour de France didn’t he?”  Different things are seen as the pinnacle of success for different people and sometimes you need to forego one thing to put all your efforts into another. The same choices have to be made in business.  Over the past couple of years our focus at RHP has been in improving our online services so they’re the quickest and easiest to use in the sector and beyond, culminating in the introduction of RHPi (the first digital only housing service in the UK). That's been our Tour de France/Olympic gold/Wimbledon- whatever you choose to call it.

To achieve big things, you need to take risks

This has been brought home in the gymnastics where individuals and teams have to make a judgement call on the difficulty level of the routine – the higher the difficulty the greater chance of gold, however also, the greater the risk. The risk doesn’t always pay off, just like the agonising fourth place of the GB Men’s team who upped their difficulty rating for a chance to win a medal but proved it was a stretch too far. I bet if you asked them though, they’d take that same risk all over again.

This resonated with me a lot. We’ve always been ambitious at RHP (our vision is to be one of the best service providers in the UK after all) and will take calculated risks to achieve big things. Not everything works, but if it doesn’t we make sure we learn from it ready for our next Olympic final.

‘Whether you think you can, or you think you can't-you're right’

Wise words from Henry Ford that emphasises that the positivity of language is key to success.

One of the most exciting events still to come is the women’s Hepthalon where Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson will be battling it out for the top spot. In a feature on the two of them their different use of language stood out to me. On the one hand Ennis-Hill was using words such as ‘I know I can do it’ compared to Johnson-Thompson’s ‘I think I can’.

It’s for that reason my money’s on Jess.

For me this isn’t arrogance but confidence. It’s something we instil in our people in the language we use here. We got ready for the roll out of RHPi in just three months – an incredibly ambitious timeframe that we were able to achieve through confidence and positivity in the vision we had.

There’s still a whole week to go with the track and field starting today and as well as the sporting interest and thrill of the competition I’ll be listening out for more inspiring gems.

It doesn’t matter what arena you’re in. High performance is the same whether in a pool, velodrome or a boardroom after all.


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