During the Olympic Games, we've been inspired by athletes around the world who put their hearts and heads on the line to acheive what is, for many, unacheivable. They have pushed themselves, taken risks and - most of all - they've trusted their instincts. All of them, in our eyes, are champions.

There are lessons to be learned from this. In business, as in sport, peak performance is reached by leveraging a range of skills. Chief amongst these is the ability to act. A lot of people wait until they are 100% sure before committing to a decision, but this risks missing out on opportunities and leaving others to steal the advantage. Learn to trust in intuition, listen to your senses and go for it.

As important as planning and preparation are, they will only ever get you so far. In the end, you have to get up and actually do the thing you’re trained to do. Sounds simple right? But putting it into practice takes confidence, determination and aptitude. A strong organisation demands inspirational leadership with the self-belief and confidence to act on their instincts.

A strong organisation demands inspirational leadership with the self-belief and confidence to act on their instincts.

Gut instinct as a tool

There are many anecdotal examples of the benefits of intuition but it is notoriously difficult to quantify. In America, a research paper was written about a Fire Chief who was said to possess Extra-Sensory Perception (ESP). In one particular instance, he withdrew his team minutes before a burning building collapsed. When interviewed, he claimed that it “hadn’t felt right.” When pushed further, he described never having seen a fire burn in that way before. Trusting the feeling in his stomach, he reacted immediately, putting instinct before procedure.

Let’s get it straight – what we’re describing is not psychic ability. Rather, a heightened knowledge and an increased capacity for judgement that is directly linked to talent and experience. The lesson that was learnt from the Fire Chief’s testimonial was to instigate a more effective communication process across the department. Today, all fire chiefs now perform a debrief that encourages them to talk to each other about what they have seen, and share their experiences in order to educate and improve each other’s perceptive abilities.

Turn experience into success

People learn not just from success but through experience. When something works, ask yourself why to allow this success to be repeated. If something goes wrong, remember it’s important to learn the lessons these experiences provide and grow from them.

As the saying goes, ships are made for sailing, so take them out of the harbour. This is true company-wide – from the corporate office to the olympic stadium. If you restrict yourselves to chasing minnows, you’ll be stuck watching bigger ships pass you by. If you throw yourself into difficult situations, you’ll grow stronger and more resilient every day.

We can all learn to lose our inhibitions and follow our instincts. It just requires us to learn from our experiences, both positive and negative, so that we can tune into the right mindset and trust ourselves. Or, to put it simply – to just go out and do it.