The Latin scholars amongst us will recognise this as the Olympic motto of Faster Higher Stronger.

Terry Duffy

Terry Duffy is a senior adviser for Acas in the North West of England.

He has a wide range of experience in helping private and public sector organisations to resolve workplace conflict, manage change effectively and improve employment relations. He delivers training to organisations on the practical application of various aspects of employment law and is part of the national team that trains and accredits mediators.

He has extensive practical experience of conciliating in Employment Tribunal claims and is a trained mediator who delivers mediation in individual and group conflict situations.

Whatever your views on the international sporting festival taking place in Rio de Janeiro - we can all marvel at the exceptional levels of human performance on display. Lightning fast reactions, incredible strength and mind-blowing levels of co-ordination all combine to take the breath away.

So what can this sporting event tell us about ourselves and our workplaces? How do we take ourselves and business performance to new heights? Exploring what contributes to the physical and mental resilience underpinning the performances on display in Rio may provide some pointers.

Athletes often talk about three things that help them to reach the standards they do.

  • Being inspired by someone before them.
  • A personal dream to be the best they can be.
  • The fact that any individual success could not have been done without a wider support network.

So who or what is the inspiration within your business? Do you believe that employees see the potential to fulfil their ambitions? What networks of help are in place to support the development of people?

There's no easy answer to these questions - and the individual size and shape of each business will impact on the types of intervention that can be taken - but it shouldn't stop us asking. Providing role models for other employees to follow, encouraging individuals to seek opportunies for improvement and planning for how this could be done are all areas that workplaces should be able to address.

It's also worth remembering that individual achievements are not the only measure of success. All of the individuals in Rio are part of a wider enterprise - in the case of our nation's athletes, it's Team GB. Being part of something bigger helps athtletes to form relationships and bonds that drive their individual efforts. Many athletes describe how being part of something bigger and thinking about who and what they are representing makes them achieve more, even when individual team members are competing with each other for Gold, Silver and Bronze. Imagine that positive attitude being the culture of your workplace!

You may very well actually have Olympians in your workplace - but for those that don't or who just want to think about how they can make improvements in their business performance, Acas has recently put together a package of measure around Building Productivity in the UK.

Our local networks of advisers will be happy to talk to you about how you can aim to be Faster Higher Stronger. To arrange an appointment with your local contact, complete our Customer contact form.

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