Team GB won medals in 9 of the 10 track cycling events at the London Olympics, including 7 gold medals. The only event in which they failed to secure a podium finish was the result of a disqualification.
Journalists kept asking the victorious cyclists about the secret of their success. Other teams suggested skulduggery. The reason for their success is simple – British Cycling has utilized the power of what Einstein called the eighth wonder of the world – the Compound Effect!
Team GB’s success is due to constant and never ending improvement, day after day, week after week. Since Dave Brailsford joined British Cycling as its performance director in the mid 1990s, shortly after the opening of the Manchester Velodrome, he has revolutionized and professionalized British cycling.
Brailsford recruited a world class team of coaches, psychologists, technicians and athletes. He has a relentless focus on details – wind resistance, diet, training regimes and even the pillows the cyclists use.
Brailsford is also performance director of Team Sky, which had first and second placed finishes in the 2012 Tour de France for Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome.
Focussing on daily, tiny improvements which compounded over time, his two teams have become the most powerful in the world.
So what lessons can you and I learn from this?
- Success is not an overnight event. It takes a long, long time, with many painful hours of training; many kilometres on the track.
- A relentless focus on what works, what did not work and how we can improve.
- Constant and never ending improvement in the little things. How can I improve my presentation? How can I make a better phone call?
- Teamwork is crucial – complete trust in your colleagues and the collective goal