I love the Olympic Games. Every four years we are afforded the opportunity to watch the best of the best; and every four years we are rewarded with stories of the triumph of the human spirit.

What do the Olympics have to do with Human Resources? Let us view them as an opportunity to be reminded of the enormity of potential when it comes to human capital.

So what can we learn?

At 6ft 5ins (1m 95), Usain Bolt should not be able to run that fast. He should not be able to accelerate at the speed he does. His physical size means that the majority of the energy he creates in a race is used to offset the drag of air resistance, and not to propel him towards the finish line. He touches the ground less than anyone else, but still gets where he is going faster.

The facts, the figures, the statistics all say that Usain Bolt should not be able to run that fast. Seems like nobody told Bolt, or if they did… he is not listening.  This is the power and potential of human beings. This is why we need to invest in our human capital.

The mindset matters:

Bolt talks about how in the past he has worried about his start, but was able to overcome this by focusing on his strength the second half of the race.

In our organisations, we need to ensure that we get to know the strengths of our people, and leverage those strengths. Research and writing by the Gallup Organisation, Donald. O. Clifton and Marcus Buckingham developed a psychometric measure and organisational approach called the Strengths Revolution. The basic premise is simple: The great organisation must not only accommodate the fact that each employee is different, it must capitalise on these differences.

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