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Blog : What do gold medal winning athletes and your employees have in common?


What do gold medal winning athletes and your employees have in common?

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By Jane Sunley, best-selling business author and Chairman + Founder of Purple Cubed

I'm pretty sure that wherever you hail from, if your country just participated in the 2016 Olympics, you'll be proud of your athletes' performance, however many medals they won. The post-Brexit Brits did well - what a talented, proud and dedicated bunch of athletes. During the Olympics, The Independent put out a video  about the bonuses gold medal winning athletes are awarded. The bonuses ranged from Australians who earn $15,000 per gold, right up to Singaporeans at $753,000. Azerbaijanis earn $255,00 and the Americans 'just' $25,000. Interesting that some cultures place such a high emphasis on money as a motivator. What about the gold-winning Brits? Well they earned an extra $0. 

However, this may well be about recognition, rather than motivation. And of course there will be sponsorship deals - before you know it Giarnni Regini-Moran will be telling us to move to a certain building society. But it does also remind us that if the right circumstances are in place, money as a motivator scores low (according to Purple Cubed's research, money was at number nine on the list with aspects such communication, leadership and values alignment topping it). The same factors that motivate these elite athletes also motivate our own employees; think clarity of purpose, great support in the form of coaching, pride, achievement and training hard to making a difference... They have clear goals, the right tools to get the job done, encouragement, how tos via coaching, team spirit and belonging, focus, determination and recognition. What causes people, athletic or not, to feel motivated and inspired is the same the world over. This is why, for those who win the golds and a big bonus to boot, it’s the cherry on top rather than the reason behind the effort.
I'd also be willing to bet those $0 winning Brits are just as ecstatic as their international colleagues who will go home financially better off.

So well done to Team UK and let's remember how important it is to keep the non-monetary motivators firmly in place.

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