SCOTLAND’S success in the pool at the Commonwealth Games and elsewhere saw medals galore brought back from the Gold Coast.

Some 44 medals were won by Team Scotland with fully a quarter of them won in swimming and diving.

Now a swimming coach respected as a top trainer in the corporate world, Dr Richard Norris, says that the success of Team Scotland, and particularly the aquatics athletes, could inspire Scottish businesses to excellence.

Dr Norris is a trainer at Kissing With Confidence, the Glasgow-based training agency. He has worked as a veterinarian in Canada, an army veterinary officer in the UK, and a competitive swimmer for 23 years, as well as a licensed swimming coach.

He has worked with businesses from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to FTSE 100s to public sector organisations.

He told The National: “As a swimmer and coach, I’ve been glued to the performances coming out of this year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. I’ve especially enjoyed the stellar performance from Scotland’s swimming team, coached by Alan Lynn, a man I’ve been lucky enough to meet and speak with on several occasions.

“Looking at how the record- breaking Team Scotland has exceeded everyone’s expectations, and returned with a triumphant overall haul of 44 medals, including 11 for swimming to boot, I can’t help but think that there are lessons here to be learnt by Scottish businesses.

“As Alan said about the Scottish swimmers, the success comes – in part – from the attitude. The team doesn’t care what everyone else thinks. They care about being the best they can be on the day; and that doesn’t come without training.

“My mantra, in the pool or the boardroom, has always been ‘Train as you race, and race as you train’.

“The army worded it slightly differently, saying ‘Train hard, fight easy’, but the point remains that, for a race, the plan has been in place for nearly a four-year cycle, honed to an edge, and practised until it’s more than second nature,” he added. “The swimmers on the podium are there because they planned for it, they rehearsed it, and they made it happen.”

The key to success in business is planning, says Dr Norris: “What a lot of SMEs, particularly around the three- to five-year mark, fail to anticipate is that plans need rehearsing, updating, and maintaining. A plan is a living thing that changes with the circumstances of the business, and ownership needs to be taken.

“Success in business comes from preparation, built upon a solid foundation of hard work and commitment. Alan said this was the key to the medals earned by our swimmers, and I’ve asserted the same in books and blogs over the years.

“The most important trait a leader in business can have is commitment.

That said, it goes further. The team had a watch phrase, which was RPE, Relentless Pursuit of Excellence, and I think it is a superb reminder of the qualities that should be at the forefront of the business mind.

“Relentlessness speaks for itself. There can be no giving up once a goal is set. The actions needed to achieve the goals of the business are part of the equation, but a good leader will be more than that. They will embody the true and lasting change that underpins success,” he added.

“Pursuit is sometimes seen as undesirable, because no business wants to say it is chasing innovation, or chasing market share, rather than leading.

“Everyone likes to think they are at the ‘front of the pack’. But true pursuit means that the one you are chasing is yourself.”