“Throughout three Olympic Games - Athens, Beijing and London - I developed a total passion not for winning races but for understanding performance,” says former Olympic freestyle swimmer David Carry. “I became fascinated by what it took to deliver your very best performance when it matters most.”
Today, David applies his fascination with high-level performance to high-level business leadership. His London-based coaching business, Track Record, is run by Olympians, Paralympians and sports coaches. The team mainly works with FTSE 100 companies, coaching them to help drive success.
“All of our team members have participated in at least two Olympic Games,” he says. David, 39, co-founded Track Record with Scott Gardner, 45, who formerly coached the Olympic gold medal winning British Cycling Team. Track Record uses Starling for its business finances.
Understanding high performance in sport and business
For David and Scott, three key attributes underpin success, both in sport and in business: confidence, resilience and trust.
“An inner sense of confidence is fundamental. We’re not talking about bravado, we’re talking about a core feeling that you’re ready to take on the challenge,” says David. “The ability to adapt and recover in a high-pressure environment is also totally key. And the final element that’s critical is trust. That’s what leads to a higher speed of decision making and execution.”
Track Record also coaches clients on the dangers of arrogance. “Confidence tips into arrogance when you try to justify your position in the world. It becomes less about you and what you’re trying to achieve, and more about your audience and competition.”
Competition and goals
David has an unorthodox position when it comes to business competition, inspired by his Olympic swimming career. “When people ask me what the competition looks like, my reply is that ‘I don’t know and don’t really care’. I could burn time and energy on finding out what they do but it’s not going to affect me or our company. I’d rather spend that time and energy looking at what we can control,” he says.
“When I was swimming, I used to imagine velvet curtains being drawn down each side of the lane. There was nothing I could do to influence the other swimmers. I just had to do my own race.”
Another parallel he draws between swimming and running a business is around enjoying the process, while also driving towards the goal. “During the last four years of swimming, I realised that it was the endeavor itself I loved - pushing myself to my physical and mental limits, getting up at 6am in the morning, swimming 70km every week. I did it for the pleasure, not for the hope that in four years time I would beat everyone else. I fell in love with the journey.”
With Track Record, David sets clear goals, as well as encouraging everyone to enjoy and make the most of each day. He aims to create a culture where each member feels valued: “The more confident each person is that their contribution has a meaningful impact, the more energy and effort they are likely to deploy.”
Fast and efficient business banking with Starling
“What Starling offers is an app that gives us control of our finances,” says David. He became a Starling business customer in 2020. His favourite feature is the instant connection to online accounting software Xero, something that saves him time and stress when it comes to bookkeeping. Xero is available to customers through the Starling Business Marketplace.
“We run a fast-paced business and we need instant access to our account and to know where our money is immediately. With Starling, we’ve got a bank that works with us, keeps pace and gives us the information we need.”