What can hospitality businesses learn from our Olympic athletes?

What can hospitality businesses learn from our Olympic athletes?

ArticlesPosted on 06th August 2012

It's not just the athletes of tomorrow who should be inspired by London 2012, businesses can also learn and benefit from our Olympians achievements.

What can hospitality businesses learn from our Olympic athletes?

What an Olympics it was for Team GB. The foundations for the legacy ‘Inspire a generation’ were firmly set by the victorious efforts of our sporting greats. However, it is not just sport stars of the future who should be inspired, business owners, managers and their employees can all learn some valuable lessons from the Olympians to help achieve greater business success.

It goes without saying that to be the greatest in the world and achieve world records; discipline and dedication are essential qualities in all great Olympians. Our sporting greats have committed to years of rigorous training, following strict diets and intense training programmes. In these challenging economic times, business owners and managers need to work even harder to maintain business performance, staying focused at all times on the long term success of their business. Front of house, waiters and service staff need to be 100% dedicated to customer service, and chefs and bartenders need to constantly strive for the highest product quality every time in order to retain customers.

Olympic athletes are never afraid to push the boundaries and aim for the highest possible targets. In order to break the unbreakable world records, or retain gold an unthinkable 3 consecutive times, Olympians have to think big and aim higher than their competitors. They do not settle for being ‘good’, only the ‘best’ will ever do. In the same mentality, competitive chefs and those seeking Michelin star achievements require the same ambition. Hospitality businesses need to push the boundaries like our winning athletes and strive to be the best. Mediocrity will rarely ever drive a business forwards, however aiming for the highest possible standards and constantly seeking to develop and improve your business will help keep you ahead of your competition and reap greater rewards.

The rigorous training programmes that all leading sports stars undergo, require strict planning and preparation. Many of this year’s athletes have being preparing for London 2012 since Beijing 4 years ago, and long before that. They have practiced and reviewed their performance, and worked with their coaching teams tirelessly to develop every aspect of their sport to achieve excellence. Businesses also need to focus on how their operational activities are planned. Teams need to be well prepared for all eventualities and practice their activities thoroughly to deliver the perfect results. Successful hotel and restaurant openings can only be sustained through strict planning; and for teams to maintain the highest standards, they require continual training and regular opportunities to practice and refine their skills.

Athletes and sport stars may reap the rewards of their efforts whilst on their own in front of spectators, but all of them have a team of dedicated trainers and coaches working behind the scenes. In order to be the best, athletes have to learn from the best and be coachable. They constantly review past performance with their coaches and work together to find ways of improving even the tiniest details to reach greater results. In the same way, to achieve optimum business performance, people need to be coachable and be willing to learn from the best. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it is a chance to get a fresh opinion on performance and find new ways of improving skills and abilities. Reviewing your past successes and failures with a consultant, coach or mentor will help identify what does and does not work within your hotel, restaurant or bar, and will clearly show the development areas which to focus on, in order to achieve greater business success.

As the Olympics have shown us, it is not always about individual success. In some events, such as the team pursuit, the success of the team is more important than individual achievement. These events highlight the importance of team work. Each member of the team relies wholeheartedly on their fellow team member to do their part, yet still have the flexibility and adaptability to support them in achieving team objectives. During arduous training prior to events, teams often depend upon one another for motivation and inspiration, learning from and supporting each other in the pursuit of team excellence. This same commitment to team work is essential in business. Managers and employees need to believe in the same vision and be united in working towards the same goals, supporting, inspiring and encouraging each other at all times.

By following the above Olympian qualities, hopefully you and your business can enjoy similar successes as those at London 2012…good luck!

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