Conference opening

Conference opening 

Marc Woods, CIMSPA Chair


Marc Woods, the new chair of CIMSPA, opened the conference with a dynamic and inspiring address sharing his personal story as a Paralympic athlete and his insights about taking personal responsibility, teamwork and about what it means to be the best you can be.  

Teamwork and success

It’s crucial that everyone in your organisation agrees what success looks like, he said. Unless your team has the same objectives, you are unlikely to reach your true potential. To achieve this harmony, leaders and people of influence in your organisation must ensure they communicate effectively; they need to listen to their colleagues to understand what they feel is important and what they believe success looks like.

Such an approach helps to build functional teams, where people look out for their colleagues.
Marc contended that; “In a dysfunctional team, when things go wrong people seek to protect themselves, they don’t care about anyone else.  When things go wrong in a team that works well together, people start looking after each other and that team has a chance of coming out the other end.”

Everybody has a role to play.
— Marc Woods, CIMSPA Chair

Reviewing performance

Athletes are very good at reviewing their performance, whether they win or lose, something lacking in the everyday workplace. He spoke of the importance of constantly reviewing and analysing your performance.

“If everyone in this sector was one percent better at what they did, it would be unbelievable. These one percents don’t just make a one percent improvement, they start sticking together and before you know it you have five, then 10 per cent. In British Cycling they call it aggregation of marginal gains. Understand the small things you can improve upon, make sense of them, make them happen and make a big difference.”

Marc said he was super excited to take up his new role at CIMSPA and finished his session by making a point, which he believes the Paralympics makes very well and that the sector could  better understand and utilise: disability is relative to the task.

“We are all good at some things and all not so good/disabled at other things. If we want to be representing the people that use our facilities, we need to be more diverse from the imagery we use to the staff that we employ. You don’t judge people on the one thing they can’t do; you judge them on the thousands of things they can do.”