This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Queensland State Surf Life Saving Championships and watching some of the country’s elite athletes perform in some of the tough events that exist in that sport. As the weekend approached the final few hours, the big events were being televised and the crowd grew larger and excitement rose.
The funny thing about sport is that we have long known it is a showcase for seeing some of the best and worst of human behaviour. It is also interesting to observe as an innocent bystander (i.e. not a competitor, nor a life member of any one Club), what makes the whole thing work.
The great thing about any sport is when people compete for a Club. Yes, we love individual superstars, but the Olympics are evidence that representing something bigger than ourselves is an honour that is highly sought after.
So here we are on the beach at Mooloolaba – watching these athletes compete for their Clubs. The Clubs with the strongest competitors had the most people down there watching. Yet I saw smaller Clubs get behind their members and cheer as loudly and with more heart than often the bigger name Clubs. What is that about I wonder?
And a metaphor for life came up. Or perhaps simply a classic example of a principle of motivation. Most people have a need for achievement and mastery. A big driver for many. But we also have a strong need for affiliation or a sense of “belonging”. It is my belief that the Clubs who support their members across the board, who value participation as highly as winning, who encourage the less talented but determined competitors, who recognise the loyalty and devotion of older masters competitors, will be the Clubs who grow and who really represent what Surf Life Saving is all about. Caring for our community.
I then read a report this morning on Global Workplace Health and Wellness and see that in their key findings (aside from the health of their employees) engagement, morale and fun were listed as some of the top objectives to achieve sustainable success of a program.
Knowing that workplace wellness is closely correlated with financial success of a company, I could see the parallel between the world of sport (in this case it happened to be surf lifesaving) and business. Perhaps we should work out what needs to be focused on and make that a priority? It isn’t always about winning and measuring the success of a company, or a club, in terms of medals or financial profit. These factors may not always be a good indicator of future retention and growth of our people.