5 August 2012

Is this the summer we turned a corner? It certainly feels like it.

Something feels different; there’s hope, anticipation and belief in the air. Is this the United Kingdom? No, it’s GREAT Britain.

It is a country that our ancestors left us to maintain and grow and hand on to our future generations in a better state than we found it, but in recent decades, Britain has not felt so great. We have been dominated in so many areas where we once dominated, not least of all sport.

And with politicians bickering over headline land grab, with their eyes off the real objective of getting the UK back to competing at every level, there is a small group of ambassadors coming out of nowhere, flying the flag.

There is nothing quite like patriotism to rally the country and it’s certainly done that. You’d expect a slight lift with the home advantage of having the 2012 Olympics on our doorstep, but nobody expected such a great set of results.

To watch Andy Murray destroy Roger Federer today, a task he struggled to do 28 days earlier at Wimbledon, reaffirms there is something in the air. So what is it? Is it luck? Is it teamwork? The levels of passion haven’t changed from one Olympics to the next. Each individual, past or present, puts their heart and soul on the line for their country, the greatest honour a person can have, so what is making us more successful this time?

A few years ago, in July 2010, I was fortunate enough to go to the Velodrome and cycle with some Olympic medal winners. Afterwards, we heard the team talk about their successes and failures, their training and their regime. To hear gold medalists like Rebecca Romero explain their level of focus across the 4 years running up to the Olympics makes you realise just how seriously winning athletes take their profession.  http://bit.ly/cUviLl

I left there realising that we needed to raise our game considerably.

I am a great believer in the link between business and sport and think that success is driven from the same obsession, passion and focus. But are we taking our businesses seriously enough?

We are very fortunate and incredibly proud to host the British Cycling team at UKFast. They are an organisation made up of extraordinary people who are so focussed on the success of the riders. It doesn’t matter where in the team you work, whether the kitchen, the admin staff, or out on the track, the ultimate goal is the riders winning. This may seem obvious, but when you hear what lengths they all go to, I promise you it puts normal businesses to shame.

And the result of all this extra effort and focus? World beaters. Beacons of hope to other Olympians and children watching the games.

I love it that my children are growing up around this time of the 2012 Olympics. How many kids are watching their parents shouting passionately at the TV, willing every breath and sharing in the pain of those who fall short?

The Olympics may be a tiny window in our lives but the results are history in the making and they show the whole world that Britain is competing again. The victories are not short lived either; long after the Olympics have finished, when your kids go back to school, teachers, parents and kids will be talking about it – a whole new breed of heros to chase and emulate.

It’s now these truly awesome stories, and the sharing of these positive emotions, that dominate the airwaves, knocking the doom and gloom preachers from their pulpits.

So, now it’s just down to us as parents, business leaders and colleagues. Isn’t it time we started buying British and focussing on making Britain a stronger economy?

If you are a business owner and you are wanting to get inspired, like I did back in 2010, then I don’t care if you are one of my competitors or someone I have yet to meet; if you are wanting to build yourself a stronger business and an even Greater Britain, then we have something in common and I might just have the thing for you.

A while ago, we got involved with Diane Modahl (4 times Olympian and Commonwealth Gold medallist) by helping her with her charity DMSF (Diane Modahl Sports Foundation) to raise vital funds to help inspire and support disadvantaged young athletes and Olympic hopefuls. I have about 10 tickets left for a dinner on Tuesday night where we are going to watch the Olympics and listen to some of the greats talk about their experiences. The night is called Road to Gold and, if you want the answers to why Britain is doing so much better in this Olympics and you want the skills to improve your business, this is where to find the answers.

There are a number of the world’s sporting talents attending including boxing gold medallist Audley Harrison, Brian Whittle (4x400m European Champion) and Yvonne McGregor MBE (Sydney Olympic Games medallist track and road cyclist).

If I don’t see you there, I hope to hear about the differences you are making one of these days.

Lawrence Jones CEO UKFast cycling at Manchester's Veledrome

Lawrence Jones CEO UKFast cycling at Manchester’s Veledrome



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