The home advantage – Team GB and the Olympics

It has been said for years that playing at home always brings an extra advantage against your opponent, especially in the likes of football, but has it ever really been proven? Well, I think that Team GB has certainly benefited from having the home crowd behind them, just look at the amazing finishes by Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah, both of whom found that extra reserve of determination and energy to power home and win their respective final races with such class.

As I write this Andy Murray is up by 1 set and 4 games to 0 against the mighty Federer, not something you see every day and I am sure that should he win he will make a point of mentioning the massive support provided by the British crowd.

“The desire to impress those who believe in you can have a significant impact on your performance.”

Both the men’s and woman’s cycling teams have been thrashing their own records all week, pushing harder and faster than they have ever done before…why? Because for the past 4 years the entire country has been gearing up for this event and those who can stomach that weight of expectation and draw strength from it are those who have gone on to win. Of course we have seen those where the weight has been too much, those who don’t thrive in the lime light and their natural game has gone out the window…so I guess perhaps that UK sport should be clearly assessing those who thrive and those who don’t….ensuring that those who would prefer to shy away are given the support they need in a very different manor to those who love the big stage! Bradley Wiggins appears to be one of those who has found a way to manage the lime light and stay as grounded as possible, perhaps others who are of a similar vain need to learn from his experience and example?

Its interesting to think that no matter how well or how hard you train for something physically and mentally that a little something called support can make such a massive difference.

I would make the leap to saying that the same could be true in business as well as in sports. Support from your co-workers and managers should all have a positive impact on your performance, allowing you to work that little bit harder to win that difficult deal or ensure your project is delivered on time. However, just like sports, it is up to leaders/management to find out what it is that makes you tick rather than using a one size fits all technique like a simplistic bonus scheme. Over the past 5-10 years or so, many leading organisations like Google and HSBC have done away with traditional incentive schemes and given people options; extra days holiday, medical cover, flexi days as well as monetary incentives. Alongside this shift, talent management and employee engagement are much higher on the agenda now than ever before with the realisation that investing time into your staff can sometimes be the simplest way to get the best out of them.

So just like Team GB, if you are in a position of influence how about creating that home advantage with your team and seeing what difference it makes?

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