Achieving great performance is all about people. It sounds a bit of a cliché but it’s true – it was true when I worked in boxing and it’s true now in a multi-sport environment. It’s true in business also. What we are all really doing as managers, leaders or coaches is shaping people and organisational performance. We celebrate great sports-people as icons – but I’ve met some extraordinary people in business. Leaders who have taken big risks to grow their organisation calculated of course but not overly so. We operate in competitive environments that are both complex and dynamic. In these environments if you’re not taking risks you’re not achieving at the higher end of your potential.
Picture this…you’re cycling down a quiet country road with the wind whistling through your hair, the sun shining on your face and your lungs filling up with fresh air. Well, some cyclists in Ireland would relate to that feeling but some would say that sounds too good to be true. For some it’s all about busy suburban and city roads, where they meet traffic chaos every day on their way into work as they dodge man-hole covers which become lethal in the rain.
How do I start describing the greatest experience of my life? The closest thing I can put to it would be this: a dream. Team Ireland arrived into Sochi on the 2nd of February, and it was overwhelming upon arrival. All of the volunteers were so helpful, and it was nice to be treated as a VIP for once. The airport was quite hectic with all of the arrivals, but we got all of our gear sorted and headed up by bus to the mountain village. Each athlete was welcomed with an incredible gift basket, with gifts from each of the Olympic sponsors, most memorably the phone from Samsung. The rooms themselves were basic but very nice, and our Chef de Mission Stephen Martin made them feel like home with Irish memorabilia.