You cannot fail to be impressed with the organisation and success of the London 2012 Olympic Games. With Team GB hoping to surpass the tally of 19 Gold Medals won in Beijing, their dedication and sportsmanship is an inspiration to us all.
At the time of writing, they stand third in the London 2012 medal table with the promise of much more to come. Whatever sport you follow you cannot fail to enjoy the atmosphere, whether you are watching it in the stadium, in one of the many open air venues or in your own home.
There are so many people involved in making this such a success, from the coaches and trainers to the athletes themselves. It is almost impossible to single one group out, almost! One group of unsung heroes is the 70,000 plus ‘Games Makers’, or to us in business, volunteers, who have taken their holiday to take on a wide variety of roles across the venues: from welcoming visitors; to transporting athletes; to helping out behind the scenes in the technology team to make sure the results get displayed as quickly and accurately as possible. These people come from a diverse range of communities and backgrounds, from across the UK and abroad. Over 250,000 people applied, showing that there is a real appetite for volunteering. The vast majority of those selected are giving up at least 10 days to volunteer during the Games. They pay for their own accommodation and travel and are completely dedicated to making these Games something which will be held up by the world as a triumphant success.
As senior leaders we should take note of this model of community engagement. We should be asking what our organisations are doing to involve local people and how we are supporting our staff to volunteer within our communities. This will help us learn and improve, it will ensure we stay connected to communities, it will help motive employees and most importantly, I believe, it will drive improved performance and productivity as we gain new expertise and the vital challenge needed in this tough economic environment.
So let’s hear it for the volunteers and celebrate, welcome and court their involvement.
Opinion | Sport, Volunteering, London 2012