April 18 - With 100 days to go until the Olympics, former medalist Steve Backley is encouraging UK businesses to seek inspiration from the games to boost performance. Ciara Sutton reports.
As an ex-Olympic medalist, Steve Backley knows a thing or two about competing. And now the former javelin world record holder is appealing to UK businesses to transfer olympic performance into the workplace. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER OLYMPIAN, JAMES BACKLEY, SAYING: "Sport offers a lovely parallel to business. The performance aspects of whether you are being an effective leader or an effective performer in the sports field or in a business context are exactly the same, in terms of the soft skills - I'm not talking about the knowledge or the skills of the individual." With 100 days to go until the start of the 2012 Olympic Games, the Orange National Business Awards is trying to encourage higher performance in the business sector. It follows a survey they carried out which revealed a distinct lack of competition within UK companies. Dominic Swords is co-chair of the awards judging committee. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CO-CHAIR OF JUDGES FOR THE ORANGE NATIONAL BUSINESS AWARDS, DOMINIC SWORDS, SAYING: "I think in UK business, we really do need to understand how to engage and inspire people in the workforce. It's clearly not all about the money, the Olympics is actually not all about simply getting a gold medal. The guy who set up the modern Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin, said it wasn't about winning, it's about taking part, but in fact he went further than that and said it's not only about winning, it's about fighting well." Seventy percent of employees questioned for the survey said competitiveness is not encouraged in their workplace. And over half said they are not appropriately acknowledged by bosses when they do well. Backley says all firms should look at the 2012 Olympics for inspiration. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER OLYMPIAN, JAMES BACKLEY, SAYING: "There's a lovely saying in sport, when you think you have found the winning formula - you are just about to get beaten. I think if you've had a fantastically successful year, push on. But be very very clear of what the next rung on the ladder looks like, and I think that is not always easy to do. And that's part of what I enjoy in helping businesses to gain clarity." Many London business have been involved in building the Olympic venues with obvious economic benefits. But now the event is so close organisers want to inspire those not directly involved as well. They may not win gold but more competition could help companies reach the top of their game. Ciara Sutton, Reuters.