Saturday, August 23, 2008

What can we learn from the Olympics?

Del Chatterton of Montreal-based consultancy DirectTech Solutions, an occasional contributor to this blog, has written a terrific (and timely) newsletter article offering 12 “Olympic Ideas for your Business.” (I love "Tear and Repair.")

Since I couldn't find a copy of the article to link to, I will copy and paste below, and hope Del doesn't mind.

The Olympic Games of 2008 have already provided inspiring examples of what the human spirit can accomplish, but there are also some interesting ideas from the Olympics that can apply to business. Consider these ideas.

The four-year planning horizon: Set aside your current plan. Review the results for 2008 and define new Olympic performance objectives for 2012 with specific milestones for each year until then.

Focus on your strengths: Choose to compete in the areas where you are most likely to succeed. Michael Phelps selected eight events he could win in - he did not try 15 events hoping to win eight.

Decide: You have to make choices to either give it your best effort over a long period of time or quit.

Push your limits: Test your capabilities and endurance to the maximum. "Tear and repair" is the way to build strength and endurance in muscle tissue; maybe in your organization too.
Learn from the leaders: What do the top competitors do that you can also do? Look at their preparation and training techniques; the little things that add up to a big difference.

Learn from your losses: Study your own performance and learn what makes the difference between your best results and your second best.

It's not for the money: You have to love it enough to do what it takes to be a winner. The money will follow if you have the passion and persistence to excel.

There is only one gold medal: You may have to settle for being the fourth, or sixteenth, best in the world at what you do.

Prepare for upsets: The best competitors know how to deliver for the big events and usually avoid surprises. You could be the upset winner when the opportunity arises if you are equally prepared and committed to maximum performance when it's required.

Have a world-class support team: Coaching makes a difference. Check that your consultants, advisors and support staff are up to the Olympic standard.

Don't cheat: The short-term glory of victory will eventually be replaced by the long-term disgrace of breaking the rules.

It's never too late: Canadian equestrian Ian Millar finally won a medal at age 61 after competing in nine Olympics. American swimmer Dara Torres at age 41 won three silver medals at this Olympics after coming back from retirement. Her first medal was at age 17.

Del also offers creative, practical business management solutions at

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