The Saje Impact team delivered a business breakfast for the Sports Think Tank last Friday on the development of the UK’s elite sport system and the importance of ‘culture’, led by an expert panel.

Chaired by Richard Parker (former CEO of BBSA), the round table event was held at Quilter Cheviot in London. The panelists included:

  • Mark Hunter MBE, Olympic Gold Medallist Rower
  • Dave Reddin, Head of Strategy at the FA, and
  • Scott Drawer, Head of Performance at Team Sky

The guest speakers outlined the features that lead to a high performance culture in their sporting environment and what it takes to win.

After an introduction by Richard Parker, Mark Hunter MBE gave a keynote about the culture at British Rowing and how the Athens Olympic Games in 2004 marked a turning point in his career at which he set up a new culture that resulted in medal success. Dave Reddin spoke about the importance of storytelling and how it is a powerful way of bringing culture to life whilst Scott Drawer shared his experience of encouraging people to learn, explore and fail:

The way you operate on a day-to-day basis is very important. In the learning environment people should be encouraged to fail so that they can evolve.

The round table drew upon Richard Parker’s recent blog Is culture the next marginal gain?”, with an explanation of his Podium to Culture Success Model (pictured below). The round table brought together a number of senior leaders from the worlds of sport and business, addressing a number of key questions:

  • How do you manage ‘difficult’ but talented people?
  • Are some people not ‘coachable’?
  • What can we learn from a new generation of millennials?
  • What is a high performance culture?

 Reflecting on the event, Richard Parker said:

The opportunity to share experiences of high performance cultures from across elite sport and business was excellent. It provided a fascinating insight into how all companies can help develop their leadership to create the right environment for their teams.

Please note that a series of blogs will follow this round table event and more details will be available from Andy Reed OBE and Richard Parker about how culture can impact business and sport.