VIDEO: One swimmer, one team, many contributors

Test and learn is one of the mantras of modern business but for disabled athletes it is an essential ingredient when there are no templates that translate directly from able bodied programs.

With the Rio Paralympics starting this week, two-time Olympian and Order of Australia recipient Matthew Haanappel, Gold Medallist from London, is aiming to repeat his success.

" Every person with a disability will just try things differently, try 10 different things and see what works - at that’s the same in business."
Matthew Haanappel, Paralympian & gold medalist

“Every person with a disability will just try things differently, try 10 different things and see what works - and that’s the same in business,” he told BlueNotes on video.

Haanappel stresses success is far from individual, it is a team result. For those with disabilities, that team effort takes on even greater importance.

One swimmer, one team, many contributors

Matt and his father Shane (a credit operations manager at ANZ) explain how a high performance team is structured and the lessons more broadly applicable for business, around not just inclusion but being flexible in programs, training and understanding the athlete or workforce. 

Human diversity is even more evident with disabled athletes but Shane believes any team will benefit from the flexibility the Paralympic family has mastered.

“There is a very wide range of experiences of people with disabilities,” Matt says and those experiences can be very valuable in business.

“Parents and family do a fantastic job of being there for me – particularly my Dad,” he says of his own team. “Success is defined by support staff, one team, one family, one common goal. Maximise your productivity as one coherent group.”

Shane says “from a team environment, every athlete has different needs, different challenges. So coaches, teams, need to adjust their learnings. For people to achieve their best, we need to accommodate the needs of each individual.

“Trying to train everyone the same way, don’t necessarily get the results,” he adds.

Watch the full interview on video.

Ha Bui is a contributing editor at BlueNotes

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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