Although the 2016 Olympic Games came to a close in Rio weeks ago, the performances of countless athletes have left indelible memories in the minds of spectators around the globe. Champions of the calibre of Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps and Simone Biles inspired all of us with the power of their triumphs.
These victories, however, were not fatigue-free, nor did they mature overnight. The smiles and shiny medals of each Olympic athlete mask huge amounts of dedication and hard work, psychologically as well as physically. Their professionalism and their ability to cope with large amounts of stress, tension and fatigue with persistence and coherence make them what they are: the best. So why not follow in the footsteps of these great achievers?
Without a doubt, lessons from the preparation and performances of Olympic athletes can be taken, translated and applied to fit many professional working environments across the Caribbean.
- Team-building is not just a figure of speech – In a recent article, Forbes magazine highlighted how Team Great Britain exceeded in team sports. Their victories stemmed from the implementation of a strategy aimed at building cohesion within the team, whilst eliminating rivalry among its members. Team-building is not just a figure of speech, but a lifestyle that each one of us can implement in our businesses as our employees strive to achieve common objectives.
- Focus on your business objectives – Simone Biles was one of the undisputed queens of the Games. Adopted by her grandparents due to her mother’s alcohol addiction problems, her victories transcend the boundaries of sport. Whilst she started training at the age of 7, it was only at the age of 13 that Biles started to reap the first results of her hard work – when she decided to increase the number of hours of her weekly training from 20 to 32. The message that we can draw from her inspirational journey to Olympic stardom is crystal clear: focus on your business objectives, and pursue them relentlessly with hard work.
- Plan everything, but be ready to improvise – Who doesn’t remember Shaunae Miller lying on the finishing line of the 400 meters? Overhauled by praise and accusation, her performance sparked endless spirited discussions. The choice that Miller took in a split second – dive and win, or run and lose – may appear far removed from our daily lives, but it’s not. Who in his or her professional life has never been faced with an unforeseen (or unforeseeable) situation that required a tough, split-second decision to be made? Yes, advance planning is extremely important, but by the same token we must never forget to interact with and adapt to our surrounding business environment. The way that we react to external stimuli says much about who we are, and how we manage our company. Sometimes, we just need to follow our instincts – like Shaunae Miller.
- Meditate on your businesses’ potential, and what you want it to achieve – Results are what determine the success of athletes. But the power to project results on a global scale is what sets apart legends from good athletes. Usain Bolt didn’t just win three gold medals; he announced to the world that he was going to achieve the unprecedented feat of going three-for-three well before the Games had even started. Setting high standards is the first step to achieving greatness, in sport as in business.
- The finishing line is nearby. Enjoy the moment – Success is steeped in the excellence of performance, as much as it is in the joy of the moment. It is not unusual to see Usain Bolt slow down as his feet approach the finishing line, as he seemingly becomes suddenly aware of the magnitude of yet another sporting feat. While achieving results is critical, it is equally fundamental to not lose sight of the bigger picture – especially when the bigger picture is one of shared joy and elation.