May 15, 2021
Introduction: Cath Bishop is a three-time
Olympian, World Champion and Olympic Silver medallist in rowing. In
her career as Diplomat, she specialised in stabilisation policy for
conflict affected areas of the world. In business Cath acts as a
Business Coach & Consultant, advising on Teams and Leadership
Development. She also teaches on the Executive Education Programs
for Judge Business School at Cambridge University.
Podcast episode Summary: The book, The Long Win
is a deep and rewarding exploration of human motivation, in sport,
politics, business & our personal lives. This episode explores
Cath Bishops alternative approach to a zero sum approach to
winning. Her approach is housed in an alliterative 3 C’s,
developing Clarity, Constant learning and Connection. Cath’s
passion for a different approach to success and in solving
our worlds complex
issues is palpable across this conversation.
Points made throughout the Episode:
- The book served as vehicle to make sense of Cath’s experiences,
failures and wins.
Cath looked at the common themes that could get at sustainable
- She observed our collective obsession with defining winning on
- Her aim for this book is to challenge our definition of
success, challenge the simple metrics on which we so depend &
to begin to define broader success criteria that
- A meaningful purpose is one that offers a contribution outside
of ourselves, is meaningful, it allows us have agency and connect
more widely to be part of something together.
- Having broader aims allows us to be resilient, to be creative
in the face of setbacks and to be involved not just from a head
space but from a heart space too.
- She invariably challenges metrics to wonder what might not be
housed in a metric that also matters.
- In her experience as an Olympian athlete especially for her
first two experiences Cath noticed a very dominant theme.
Toughness. It took failing on a big scale for Cath to ask some
tough questions of herself. She took a year out.
- Cath’s third experience in Athens was different. Cath appreciated the change
in sport psychology. It wasn’t necessarily about
“fixing athletes” that led to performance gains but to an
appreciation of the Culture and environment in which athletes
trained. Removing fear and separating out performance from results.
To an understanding that more things about an athlete, like
mindset, behaviours, relations with others contributed to the
- These learnings underpinned what became for Cath her 3 C’s,
Clarity, Continuous Learning and Connection.
- Cath is often invited into Corporate Settings to explore her
wins and help others be winners. She explains that this is not the
question. Instead she asks how Leaders can share why their
organisation exists, the difference it makes to society and then to
go about connecting and making links with every
- Start what Success means to the team on a broader level. Cath
shares a story of where a team was facing into miserable results
but with her help they were able to mine the real learning they had
achieved over the year.
- She extols a Growth Mindset made famous by Carol Dweck. Cath
asks teams to look at what went well, to leverage learning and be
prepared to do consistent reviews. This gets people away from
having only one metric the outcome.
- Cath learnt the capacity of connection as a Diplomat. She notes
that it is a little bit mad that it took a Pandemic for
organisations to give themselves permission to ask people how they
are. Importantly we should take stock about why that was the
- In her capacity as a Diplomat Cath was keen to make connections
before the content of her assignment. Who am I speaking to beyond
the title? Knowing a person helps you tap into the their better
- The Brexit negotiations are really forged out of an archaic
system of Zero sum games. Competition and politics where someone
has to lose.
- Complex collaboration is required to solve some of our more
wicked social problems
- For teams Cath suggests that each team define what success
means to them, to put people first and to value the team ethos in
addition to the metrics. She suggests people on teams need to take
responsibility for what matters and to challenge entrenched
- Make sure the conversations about Purpose are not outsourced as
a Comms initiative but spoken to everywhere.
- Cath’s biggest discovery in writing the book was the
realisation that a lot of our more systemic issues and inability to
collaborate are borne out of our education systems. She admires the
work of Alfie Cohen in the US and his thinking on Co-operative
learning as well as the approach adopted by the Nordic
- We do not have a lot of cognitive diversity much of us have
learnt the exact same curriculum. How can we allow for more
- Begin by defining success on your own terms and lose the
- Bishop.C; The long win; the search for a better way to
- Cohen.A; Punished by Rewards