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Why Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France

23rd Jul 2012
Senior Consultant & CEO Track Surveys
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I'm not a cycling fan or even much of a sports fan, but I'm always interested in how people perform, whether that's on a fast and skinny bike or in day job at the office.  This article from today's BBC News Magazine attributes Bradley Wiggins' victory in the Tour de France to, among other things, strong teamwork, science, psychology, and what they call 'marginal gains'. 


A lot of time was spent analysing individual team members' strengths and working hard to maximise those.  The psychological factor was critical, too: Wiggins had to work hard on his belief in his own abilities and dealing with the pressure from external sources. 

Marginal gains

What's really interesting is the 'Marginal gains' point: the team coach's philosophy is that it's important to look for and achieve small gains in performance, which, when accumulated, lead to overall success and goal achievement. This is something that has been proved by research to be equally important for leaders, managers and employees in the workplace.  Even when people are performing well, identifying additional areas where they can make small changes can improve their overall capability.  It's also a lot easier to take on and achieve small changes rather than huge goals that seem too difficult or far away.  And from a line manager's point of view, it's a lot easier to review and feed back on small, daily observable goals. 

Strong legs

The last of the 10 reasons cited for Bradley Wiggins' victory is Strong Legs - I guess that's one of the natural advantages he's got, and we can't all have! 

But picking out the equivalent for each employee - their version of 'strong legs' - can be a great motivator.  Help people to understand their best strengths and skills, and give them the opportunity to use them. 



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