UK Sport have invested £275m in the sports where GB competed in at Rio. However allocation of funding is targeted and performance driven. Some sports lost out e.g. basketball and table tennis.
In a business context a parallel would be to cut out loss making products or curtail investment on activities without an acceptable ROI .
Realistic Goal Setting
Before the Olympics UK sport set a minimum medal target of 47 the same number as was achieved in Beijing. This compared to a haul of 65 in London. The number of medals won in Brazil was 67. The targets were realistic without being over ambitious to a point where they might be regarded as aspirational or unachievable.
I have seen examples in business when budgets are set at levels which are unachievable and this can be de-motivational and detrimental to the business.
The margin between success and failure at high level sport can be very small. The same is true in business. A culture of innovation and seeking to squeeze even a small % improvement out of an athletes performance is something which has marked out team GB. Huge attention to detail was paid to issues such as nutrition, equipment and kits.
A business that innovates can gain a march on the competition.
Leadership and Team spirit
The importance of having the best coaches to get the best out of talented athletes was instrumental to the success in Rio. Leadership was also provided by some of the more experienced athletes. The willingness of big names such as Andy Murray, Justin Rose and Bradley Wiggins to impart advice and be key members of the team has been praised for being inspirational to some of the younger team members. While a number of the sports would be traditionally regarded as been very individualistic the importance of being able to instill a team spirit was vital to the overall success.
Building a team, using mentors, bringing in experience at the right levels are all hallmarks of a good business. Effective leadership is a key factor.
Talent, Dedication and Hard Work
While funding, coaching, innovation and team strategy can do a lot no one is ever going to win anything without putting in the hard hours of practice and training and of course having the talent in the first place.
A successful business will always need to nurture talent while creating the right environment where dedication and hard work are appreciated and rewarded.