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Monday, August 13, 2012

Who from the Olympics are good role models for marketers?

I guess this is a general posting and not specific to the 50-plus.

You could say that all of the competitors, let alone the medal winners, are role models for marketers, and everybody else come to that. Dedicated to become the best in the world, disciplined and willing to keep learning. Not a bad set of qualities.

There were two people who stood out for me. Firstly, somebody that unless you were in the UK you probably didn't see and even if you did I bet you wouldn't recognise him in the street. Dave Brailsford is the performance director of British Cycling and the general manager of Team Sky - this is the group that won the Tour de France.

If you are outside the UK you might have noticed that we are pretty good at cycling.

British cyclists won 12 medals in London, including 7 golds. That is about a quarter of all the UK's gold medals.

The guy who is credited with a large part of that success is Mr Brailsford. Have a read about him here.

What is it about this guy that makes him, and those around him, so successful? Well, it sounds to me that he is obsessive about detail. He believes that the difference between success and failure, at the something as competitive as Olympic level cycling, is getting all of the 0.1% bits of the process a little better. Not some great single magic answer, but the relentless pursuit of small incremental improvements. This blog posting explains it a lot better than I can.

It is so much nicer/easier if you can find a couple of earth shattering ideas that change the rules of the game but in most cases life is like that. Especially in highly competitive markets, the Brailsford approach of incremental improvement is the way to win.

My other role model is Michael Johnson. For non-Brits, Mr Johnson was a commentator on the BBC. For those of you who don't know much about athletics, he is still the world record holder at 400 metres and until recently also held the 200 metres record - Mr Bolt broke it.

Unlike most, almost all, of the other BBC commentators he cuts through the emotional hype and giggle and focuses on the facts and what he observers and what he knows (which is a lot). The lesson from him is excellence and real knowledge wins over fluffy platitudes and exuberance. Dick Stroud

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