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Revelations: How to Find Inspiration

Posted On - 18/11/2013 16:00:21

The Key to Finding Inspiration: Be Open to It
Everyone wants to have a better business. Whether it's growing to make more money; taking on more staff; or just having a more predictable income, every business owner wants to get better.

So why, when there's a multitude of stories and examples on how others have done it, are people still trying? If the 'answers' are already out there, why isn't everyone already better?

Changing things is rarely easy. And if we're to consider it, it'd better pay off - it'd better give us a big return. So we go out looking for things that'll do just that. And though we see how others have done great things, often their circumstances are just that bit different from ours. So what was the right thing for them isn't quite right for us. Sound familiar? Whatever, it's far easier to find excuses not to do things than reasons to. Especially if we went looking for ideas with preconceived notions in the first place.

Yet this approach is at the very heart of British Cycling's transformation. Using excellence from business, the military, education and other sports, British Cycling utterly redefined its performance in just 3 years. How? By getting to grips with its ‘Chimps' and ‘Gremlins'.

If you're thinking this sounds unlikely psychobabble, think again. They're part of a hugely powerful cognitive technique used by the team. So powerful it transformed Victoria Pendleton's performance. So powerful Sir Chris Hoy says he couldn't have won his medals without it.

Practically speaking ‘Chimps' and ‘Gremlins' come to life in several ways. For example, by coming to terms with their guilt over copying British Cycling confronted its prejudice that only it could solve its problems. And by challenging assumptions that transformational change only comes from ‘magic-bullets', it got on with incremental improvements - often referred to as marginal gains - that actually made a difference.

Most important of all, by accepting break-through answers were just as likely to stem from outside of cycling and even sport, British Cycling made the biggest jump. It 'got' inspiration isn't hard to find: it's everywhere and all around us. That the challenge is not about finding great examples of brilliance at all, it's prioritising what to do first and getting on and doing it.

British Cycling's success teaches us much about achieving excellence. And if we had to recommend one take-away from their experience it would be this: the secret to identifying inspiration is disarmingly simple - just be completely open to it.

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