7 lessons the business world can learn about ‘improving culture’ from the Australian Commonwealth Games Swimming team

Jul 14
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Many would say that at the London Olympics the Australian swim team lost their magic with underwhelming performance and the worst Olympic result in 20 years, the culture was said to be ‘toxic’.

Two years later and the Australian team have learned from its mistakes by bagging a swag of medals  – check out the medal standings

As the new head coach was quoted saying ‘when things like this happen people start thinking about new strategies, about choosing a new path to go.’ 

So here are my insights from watching the Aussie Swimming team in Glasgow over the past week and many of these are great concepts that businesses all over Australia could benefit from to improve their own culture:

  1. Get some early wins – it boosts the confidence of the entire team and set the bar high
  2. Focus on their individual contributions whilst keeping team success and the bigger picture in mind
  3. Support your team mates even if your competing head to head – Often this happens with internal competition ie. sales v marketing. You can also check out their team twitter hashtag  #ourteam
  4. Tick off those ‘one percenters’. These are the small things that you can do in planning to make yourself that little bit better than your competition.
  5. Draw inspiration from your organisation’s legacies – Many organisations have a rich history of success you can build upon including superstar mentors to help tell your story
  6. Stack your team with depth of skills. Hiring the best and putting your best team forward. This week the Aussie scored Gold, Silver and Bronze in the Women’s and Men’s 100 m Freestyle – that’s depth!
  7. Not only celebrate individual and team success  but celebrate by acknowledging the behaviours that helps those that achieved greatness. They’re the behaviours you want to re-inforce with your rising stars

Did you watch the games, were you inspired by the success of the Australian team?


Submitted by John Burgher, Marketing Director, Criterion Conferences

John Burgher, Marketing Director, Criterion Conferences

John is a Marketing Director with over 12 years of B2B experience in the UK, Asia and Australia. He’s an ideas guy, foodie and a gadget geek who is always looking for the next ‘big thing’. If John had a super power he would love to plug into the matrix, and become superhuman. You connect with John on Linkedin http://au.linkedin.com/in/johnburgher

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