The Real Success of the Olympics? A Talent Management Strategy.

Like most of us, I watched amazed and overjoyed at the success of Team GB, but what really threw me was the reality that this was no accident, to “good old Britain” doing well. This success had been a clearly planned and well executed Talent Management Strategy and I thought back to the Monster Buzz debate Talent Acquisition v Talent Management. I had firmly supported the Talent Acquisition rules side BUT how wrong I was and it took Team GB’s success to make me understand that I was wrong...


So what changed my mind?


In the UK after our woeful Atlanta 1996 performance, one gold, something changed and the result all these years later was this “pot of medals”. This is a classic example of Talent Management that achieved remarkable success and one that UK PLC should take note of.

So what lessons can be learned?


1. You often need to find a “catalyst” to change the way you’ve always managed TM. In 1996 it was our poor showing in the financial sector, for you it might be something like the recent revelations about the Libor Rate fixing.

2. You need someone to put their head above the parapet and demand change. Internal would be best but sometimes external forces will demand change too.

3. You need a leader to take ownership and drive the TM change forward.

4. You need to define the vision, mission and goals and set realistic goals and you need to set KPI’s and reward success.

5. You will need to “rattle cages” and often restructure all that exists and rebuild to deliver the new vision.

6. You need to put a “coaching” infrastructure in place and recruitment the “best in your sector”

7. You need to fund all of this; we had the National Lottery which had been set up two years prior.

8. You need to benchmark how you spot/identify potential talent.

9. Finally you build you Talent Acquisition strategy and then you start to build your Talent Pipeline.

10. Finally you define “The Moral code” and embed that into your acquisition strategy – For team GB it could be ‘we don’t do drugs’. In the financial sector it could be ‘we don’t commit fraud’. Whatever it is, it’s critical to your success and your brand’s success.


The UK did it, Team GB did it, and we all helped to fund it. Now we should celebrate success and redefine the vision and mission to set those new goals.

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