Why I want to be more like Sir Chris Hoy

Only a decade ago British Cycling was one of the poorest performers in the world and not a sport for which us Brits were famous, innovative, world beaters or looked up to by any other country. If you aren’t a sports fan then think of British Cycling being as successful as we are in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Then things started to change. Sir Chris Hoy won 6 Olympic Gold medals (that’s more than you can count on one hand) and 11 World Championships (yes that’s more than you can count with both hands). There have since been a whole long list of British champions, men, women and Paralympians, who have taken the sport to the dizzy heights of being the best on the planet.

So why do I want to be Chris Hoy?

Is it the fame, the gold medals, the super expensive bike or his chunky thighs?? No it’s the change. So what changed? Sir Dave Brailsford was appointed to head the team and he quickly realised that he couldn’t fix one big thing by 100%. So he changed the mindset of the whole team to change 100 things by 1%. These marginal gains can cumulatively make a massive impact when races are won or lost by a hundredth of a second.

Matthew Syed talks about this in his book Black Box Thinking which takes about changing your mindset and uses British Cycling as a great example. The changes including always using anti bacterial handwash to avoid getting infections. Also they painted the inside of the trucks white so that any dust or dirt on the bikes could be spotted and cleaned more easily improving the aerodynamics and therefore speed. And during the Tour De France (cycling’s biggest annual race) the team weren’t sleeping well in old fashioned rural hotels deep in the French countryside so they took their own mattresses with them everywhere they want as a good night’s sleep aids performance.

Making 100 small changes

So I decided to make some changes. I started to draw up a list of 100 things that I could change to improve my life and my performance. These included some small simple things like crossing the road to walk on the sunny side of the street. And always clearing my table in a cafe or restaurant to save the waiter or waitress from having to clear up after me. The list included me stopping biting my nails and drinking more water. Also on there were saying thank you to everyone even the most junior or youngest person in the room. I added buying pizza for homeless people.

To be honest I only reached the grand total of 27 changes and they were all quite small and easy to change. But the cumulative effect of all these changes was huge. I was happier and more productive and laughed more and talked to random people more.

I was more like Sir Chris Hoy – well at least 27% more like him!

So I encourage you to get out your notebook and start a list. What little changes are you going to make to your life and how are you going to practice these every day? Try and get to 100 or at least aim for 27.

If you're ready to make a change, take a look at our online course - Zero to Authentic Hero. It's a 7 step process perfect for new leaders who are looking for guidance and help to become better leaders.

 

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