17 September 2014 By Northern Lights
Olympic athlete Steve Cram said business leaders must ensure every member of their team has a gold medal winning attitude if they want to guarantee success in a speech at Bradford University School of Management.
Speaking at the Knowledge Transfer Network event in front of a capacity crowd of business leaders, the broadcaster and elite coach said that success was about nurturing the talent in all of us and creating an environment where everyone can excel.
He said: “Too often we say people succeed because they are gifted, but that’s not true. The truth is that talent is everywhere and success is all about taking that nugget of what you have and then working damned hard to make the most of it.
“It’s about spotting the opportunity to develop talent and then unleashing it. We are all ordinary people. What makes the difference is attitude – instil a winning attitude in someone and they will succeed.”
Cram said that UK sport had been rescued by the British business model. After slumping to an embarrassing 34th in the medals table in the 1996 Olympics, the sports sector looked to business and developed clear plans and goals to seek a return in medals.
The rewards of that renewed focus and business-like approach were plain to see at the London 2012 Olympic Games when Britain soared to third in the medals table. However, Cram now says that businesses can learn from the model of UK sport which has rapidly evolved to meet ever-increasing competition from overseas.
He says: “UK sport was asked to create a business of winning and that meant setting clear targets and creating a culture and environment where the talent could flourish. We have now professionalised the approach to winning in British sport.
“We’ve made sure everyone involved, from the athletes to the volunteers, act like gold medallists every day. Every single person impacts on performance and we’ve engendered a winning attitude at every level. Everyone understands how important their role is in winning those medals.
“Business can now learn a lot from sport. Sport moves forward all the time and that means we’ve had to constantly adapt and evolve. Change is scary, but you need to create a winning culture and you can’t do that by continuing to do the same thing.
“Most importantly, businesses must create an environment where people can view themselves differently and then excel in it. Give people a platform to reinvent themselves, and the support to do it, and you can’t help but succeed.”
Steve Cram is an ambassador for Yorkshire Bank and they arranged for him to attend the event which was held in partnership with the Bradford Professionals Network.
Associate director of the Knowledge Transfer Networks, Owen Whitehouse, added: “This network is all about sharing expertise and identifying opportunities for businesses to succeed.
“Steve Cram helped to demonstrate that potential lies within all of us and I’m sure those who joined the talk today will have been inspired by his rallying cry for a winning attitude to be instilled in every business.”