Let’s Learn Talent Development Tips from China’s Olympic Diving Team

The Talent Code author Daniel Coyle offers advice on how employers can maximize their employees’ achievements during NSCA’s Business & Leadership Conference.

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Although it's not the particular video that The Talent Code author Daniel Coyle describes, this video shows high-level talent development by China's diving team.

Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code, recently watched a video of a diver on China’s national diving team attempting an extremely difficult dive.

Having written about challenges and mysteries behind extremely successful people’s ability to unlock their full potential, Coyle was no doubt interested in anything that China’s diving team might be doing. After all, it’s “the most dominant team in the world,” he says.

It’s hard to argue with that, since China won 24 of a possible 32 gold medals over the past four Olympics.

What he learned in researching The Talent Code is that many people who seem to maximize their potential exist in cultures “where you’re constantly leaning forward, constantly on the edge of your ability, getting good feedback on your mistakes and then reaching again.”

The particular video that Coyle watched was shot by a coach of a diver attempting a dive that had never been done before. He failed pretty dramatically.

“The guy completely missed the dive,” Coyle recalls.

“When he gets out of the water the team responds by giving him a standing ovation. This was a guy who screwed up and made a huge mistake but his team stood up and applauded him.”

Why does that matter? Simple. It provides a window into how full potential is achieved.

Granted, most of us aren’t in the business of coaching Olympic diving teams, challenging our athletes on never-before-achieved feats.

For that matter, we’re generally not piano instructors looking to unlock a performer’s limitless ability, a coach inspiring a seemingly average player to touch Willy Mays-esque achievements or any such example from Coyle’s The Talent Code.

However, the desire to reach the limits of one’s potential isn’t limited to high-profile settings.

Commercial Integrator is NSCA’s exclusive media partner for the 19th annual Business & Leadership Conference. Find continuous coverage here. 

All employers, all managers should want not only to get as much productivity out of their team as possible but to guide employees to maximize their personal achievement.

That’s what employers should do. That’s why the diving video matters.

Coyle wasn’t watching a funny “fail” video. He was watching a coach challenge a player to “go to the edge of his ability.” In the standing ovation he was witnessing a culture that supports great achievement.

What he learned in researching The Talent Code is that many people who seem to maximize their potential exist in cultures “where you’re constantly leaning forward, constantly on the edge of your ability, getting good feedback on your mistakes and then reaching again.”

Although it might seem so in relation to Olympic athletes, Grammy-winning performers or Renaissance artists, it’s not mundane and just as valid to create that culture in your workplace.

Employees want to further their career. Employers want great job performances.

At NSCA’s 19th annual Business & Leadership Conference, Coyle will challenge integration firm executives to create a culture in which their employees can reach the edge of their ability.

The integration industry has long cited challenges when it comes to recruiting top-notch prospects. While Coyle will present his thoughts on better recruiting practices, The Talent Code author aims to help employers get top-notch performance out of the performers they already have.

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