I’m writing on Sunday afternoon. A few minutes ago Andy Murray beat Roger Federer in three straight sets: blew him off the court, you might say.
Last night, in the space of an hour, Team GB put in its most amazing Olympic athletic results in over a century. Our cyclists, rowers, gymnasts and many others (note that I am excluding our footballers, of whom I feel the less said the better), are on what is being described as a Gold Rush, and we are currently 3rd in the medal table. We are well ahead of where we were at this stage at the Beijing Olympics, where our performance was way better than in previous Games.
So what is it that is leading to this outstanding performance? I profess no expert knowledge in this field, and plenty is being written elsewhere about the preparation the athletes have made, the technical advances, the coaching they’ve received and so on. Not my field at all.
But I do have a little amateur theory to throw out there. I think that a very significant part of this success is down to the Roar Factor. One thing that characterizes these Games for Team GB is of course that they are on home turf, and there is a significant advantage surely from the sheer volume of noise their excited and highly motivated supporters are able to throw at the home competitors.
Apparently in the velodrome, where we have only failed to get a clean sweep of all the medals because of one technical infringement, the decibels generated by the crowd hit 114.4 when Sir Chris Hoy did his thing on Thursday. This, I read, is the same as standing next to a helicopter, and louder than the average rock concert.
Imagine what that must be like when something like that turns on in your favour. Surely it produces a surge of energy like a shot in the arm, driving Jessica Enniss to an amazing sprint down the final straight of her 800m, and the same in the last lap for Mo Farah, which he ran in 53 seconds (faster than Andy Murray is able to turn on from a fresh start, let alone after nearly 10,000m!) The crowd at Wimbledon roared in a very un-Wimbledon-like fashion, and surely must have given Murray extra reserves of grit and determination to nail his hitherto elusive opponent.
I wonder what this Roar Factor is worth? 20% uplift in performance – maybe more? Is there any research on this? Imagine if we could turn on an extra 20% performance from people from more effective “roaring”. Roaring doesn’t cost anything, and doesn’t take much skill. (Unfortunately, otherwise I’d be designing a training course: “Roaring for Success”.) What it does need is a lowering of inhibition, a willingness to open up, and of course the desire to be Present for the employee. All of which, I suggest, are significant barriers in most organisations. Hence why it’s such a rare behavior.
What could you do to roar someone on today?