Monday, 30 July 2012

Lessons from Lizzie!

Well done to Lizzie Armistead who yesterday won Team GB's first Olympic 2012 medal, earning silver in the women's road race. 
Elizabeth Armitstead
We often learn through things that don't go well, but we should also learn from, as well as celebrate, sporting success. Here's what I'll take from Lizzie - (aside from the obvious being good and working hard!):

  • Scenario: Lizzie (and the women's team in general) were not the headliners - the men's team were.
  • Lesson: Success does not always come where you expect it, so look at talent all around and don't be too concerned with being the 'favourite'

  • Scenario: We were meant to get gold for the men's road race. This sadly didn't happen due, apparently, to the tactics of others and a lack of plan B.
  • Lesson: Learn from what happens to others, and have a plan B 

  • Scenario: Lizzie took the initiative to break away from the team
  • Lesson: Timing is critical. Trust your instints

  • Scenario: Lizzie was originally a track star, but chose to concentrate on the road rather than the track for this Olympics
  • Lesson: Don't limit your options too much, too soon; but know when to streamline and focus

  • Scenario: When the eventual winner, Marianne Vos, went for it... so did Lizzie
  • Lesson: Stick to your own game, but don't let the competition out of your sight!

  • Scenario: Lizzie played a key role in helping Nicole Cooke win gold at the 2008 Road World Championships as part of the team
  • Lesson: Be a good team player, and your time to shine will come

  • Scenario: Lizzie apparently took up cycling relatively late, only taking up the sport 8 years ago.
  • Lesson: It's not when you start, it's where you finish!

Here's what business should take in addition to the above:

  • Scenario: Lizzie was spotted through a talent identification scheme
  • Lesson: Introduce one of these, spot and support talent, reap the rewards (obviously)!

Lizzie Armitstead riding behind Marianne Vos

Monday, 9 July 2012

Child's Play!

It is said (and sad) that we hit an age where we have to be all grown up and even the Bible says that there is a time when we should 'put away childish things'. But I've recently found myself at odds with this idea and verse as I have found myself getting childish things out, to turn them into a lesson for grown up's! 

I was asked to come up with a brief in-room activity to take a 'comfortable' team up a gear - with limited time, space and resources (well, it was a charity!). So I set about deciding on a couple of activities to be sandwiched in between presenting some theory and generated discussions. 

In a nutshell I had the team complete a jigsaw puzzle, designed for toddlers, somewhat limited by the blindfolds and rules representing real life challenges.  The aim was to encourage some self awareness and extract some key team lessons... And then I finished by telling the story of 'The three little pigs' (also useful for project management!) to illustrate a few more points.

And the use of kids stuff wasn't where the 'childishness' ended, as I have to confess I did giggle a little watching the team undertake the challenge (which they had been warned might occur*)!
*More real life representation.

The resultThe team learnt a lot and laughed a little; I learnt a little and laughed a lot. I got great feedback, and they got a simple activity they can work with again to continue improving as a team. 

To try this in your workplace you will need:
  • A willing team, with a sense of humour and adventure!
  • A child's jigsaw puzzle
  • Some blindfolds
  • A stop watch
  • Me! (so you know all the rules and get all the learning!) 

To find out more about using kids stuff to get adults learning - or about my more sensible approaches to training - 
Call me on 07887 643807.