So, that’s the Winter Olympics done for another four years. What did you take away from the Games? Perhaps that even the ‘invincible’ feel the pressure, as Mikaela Shiffrin returned home with just the single gold medal, having been expected to claim a clean sweep of medals in the women’s skiing. Or that experience can count for very little, with 15-year-old figure skater Alina Zagitova winning gold in the women’s single figure skating.
I was sat there watching with my business owner hat on, trying to draw some analogies between the business and sporting domains. It was an easier exercise that I thought it would be. Here are the lessons we took from the spectacle:
Sometimes you need to make tough decisions
The National Hockey League made the decision it would not allow its players to participate in the Olympics – the first time in 20 years the League has not been represented at the Games. The League listened to its ‘customers’ (NHL fans) who were against the idea of the NHL taking a 17-day hiatus to allow players to attend the games.
It was far from a straightforward decision, but it was the right one as far as fans were concerned – and that’s the key.
Diversity delivers better results
Describing this year’s emblem, the Games said it “combines the image of ice and snow, winter sports stars (athletes), and people from all over the world, coming together in PyeongChang.”
What would the Games be without diversity? You could ask the same of business. Yet, not all businesses have made efforts to craft effective diversity and inclusion strategies, despite research suggesting it’s in the interests of their bottom line to do so.
Passion is essential
The official slogan for the Games was simply “Passion. Connected.” That passion was visible for all to see throughout the two weeks, acting as fuel for athletes to achieve more than they thought they ever could.
Passion can carry businesses to great heights, too. Interestingly, a Tel Aviv Study discovered that passion is more important than talent when it comes to professional success. So, business leaders need to ensure the fire continues to burn in their organisation.
Persistence pays off
Save for some unfortunate bad weather, the Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea were a resounding success. Pretty decent going for a city that had tried and failed in its previous bids to host the Winter Olympics. It was also the smallest city to host the Games since Lillehammer in 1994.
Every small business is an ‘underdog’. We’ve all seen the stats about how many SMEs go out of business within five years. However, failure shouldn’t put leaders off from trying to realise their vision. There might a few setbacks along the way, but success can follow, it just takes some persistence.