Leadership Lessons from the Rio Olympics
Athletes reached the Rio Olympics only after they underwent a lot of suffering, and had to work hard with a lot of dedication at John Blakey. I have been part of the support team for Great Britain coaches who were involved in the sporting disciplines of Paralympic target shooting, rowing, and diving, and each of them led athlete teams that were hoping to win gold medals in the Olympics. The work with Olympic sports coaches gave me valuable lessons that can be equally useful for those who are leaders in business. These are the top tips for my triathlon:-
1. Ready, Fire, Aim
The culture in Olympic sports is based more on action than thought. The competition is ruthless, the deadlines are immovable and the constant in depth measurements bring on a mentality of ready, aim, and fire, instead of the ready, aim, and aim that is common in the procrastination approach in the world of business. When you take a business decision you are constantly weighing risks, but there is equally the risk of not taking a decision at all. So, if you are in doubt, it is best to jump in.
There was a sports coach that I worked with, who was sacked when a national team he was coaching performed poorly in a World Cup. When I spoke to this person a few days after he was sacked, strangely, I found him in a good mood. When I asked him the reason for this, he told me that his job did not define who he actually was. This was an example that shows professionals in sports are resilient and not afraid of failure, something that seems alien to the business heads that I coach. There is a saying in Vistage, that says before you become a CEO, you are a human being. This is an adage that can be quite a help when things do not go the way you want them to.
3. Celebrating Success
A Vistage speaker, Dr Michael Canic, once asked his audience whether anyone among them had ever celebrated too much during their career in business. This is a reminder that gold medals are made from gold and are medals that are presented on podiums in front of large audiences. Does a business person have the equivalent of a gold medal? And what will he do to celebrate winning this medal? That is the reason, business leaders must look at the opportunity presented by the need to celebrate success and develop an attitude towards this achieving of goals.
Most people will scream at TV screens whenever their national idols perform well in the Olympics and need to remember that the glitz and glamour of this event come after four years of effort that involved a lot of tears, blood and sweat. Similar to what Thomas Edison said, a genius whether in business or sport has to put in ninety-nine percent of perspiration along with one percent of inspiration. You can get closer to your own gold medal performance if you build personal resilience and take decisive action.You must celebrate in style, treat yourself to a holiday and find a podium to stand on and wave to the crowd, once you have achieved your goal.