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What can Olympic Rowers teach Small Business Owners?

by Claire Martinsen on Sat 15th Feb 2014 03:30

Adrian CassidyThe final session of CBL Live  on Wednesday was led by Adrian Cassidy from High Performance Coaching. Adrian is an ex-rower, turned rowing coach, turned team/executive coach. He was a rowing coach at London 2012, before moving those same skills to coaching businesses and teams.

Adrian’s session was brilliant, and he drew on the behaviours and traits of Olympians that can be moved over to the world of business.  He finished by showing a video of  ‘The Hour of Power’ where athletes literally push themselves above and beyond what they believe for an hours solid rowing [we saw a speeded up edited version I hasten to say!].  It drew tears and clenched teeth from the audience at CBL Live and we were only watching, so gosh only what the athletes were feeling!

Adrian spoke how Olympians have very clear goals…..working towards a Games in 4 years time, and other milestones in between.  These goals are clearly defined, agreed with the team around them, and all training is geared towards these goals. He asked why few businesses had such clear goals in comparison.  Good point!

He also touched on the relentless focus that Olympic rowers put on their goals – training 2-3 times per day, sacrificing things in pursuit of the goal.  One example being how much focus Olympians put on their health and well-being – if they are ill they simply can’t train as they need to.  How much focus do business owners put on their health?

There was also a valuable lesson about continuous measurement. Adrian talked us through the testing and measurement that takes place in Rowing, about identifying where you  are now, and what the gap is between where you are now and where you need to be [ie World Record pace]. Its only be identifying where you need to be, what the gap is currently and where your weaknesses are that you can improve to the required standard.  How many businesses are at focussed on continuous measurement?

Adrian was full of great stories, and there were some good learnings that were super applicable to the world of business.  About taking risks and pushing yourself beyond what you think you can do.  And next time I’ve got a unlikeable task to do I’m going to ‘take the concrete pill, do an hour of power’ and think of all those Olympian Rowers doing just the same as me out on the water!

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