Olympic success – no accident

It will be no accident for those winning gold medals in Sochi. Specific attributes and actions are common to this elite group. E.g.:

  • Desire
  • Dedication
  • Focus
  • Smarts
  • Guts
  • Talent
  • Competitive performance
  • Experience
  • Training
  • Consistent application
  • Innovation – pushing the boundaries
  • Performance analysis for continuous improvement
  • Teamwork
  • Collaboration
  • Loyalty from and to fans, family, sponsors…….whoever helps them get where they are.

Interestingly, listening to a recent interview with Mike Pervan (Altitude’s General Manager), it occurred to me that many items on this list apply as well to gold-medal winning businesses. With customers like Boeing, you have proven credibility in  meeting stringent safety criteria. Given that the aircraft interior impacts safety in a crisis and is also fundamental to the passenger’s travel experience, this is a high-stakes game. Operating at this elite level in such a highly-regulated and scrutinised industry is no small feat for a kiwi-run (yet global) aerospace interior business.

Smart athletes let their results do the talking. So it is with successful business. “Under promise, over deliver” has never been more relevant. Over promising and under delivering is the shortest route to disaster. When customers are grumpy and over-demanding, it is like an athlete trying to compete with an injury – excruciating in many ways, for all involved. Yes, you can temporarily anaesthetise the issue, but the situation eventually takes its toll. You can never replace a fit, flexible, strong, confident performer, whose every minute is focused on preparation, performance, recovery, analysis and improvement – on a repeat loop.

Positivity is another common success attribute – Kiwi Janina Kuzma, member of New Zealand’s Winter Olympic team, echoes many athletes who commit time and effort to visualisation practice. It was made clear that they train in this skillset, practise it with as much application as other forms of training and regard it as fundamental to their success. (One wonders what the average employee visualises about their work day.)

When the athlete is on the podium realising the dream, they know exactly how much that glory has cost them. They have never been under any elusion. In that moment, the many years of pain and disciplined execution is worth the cost. But it is no accident – simply the flow-on effect of doing a million things right, repeatedly.


About Cherri Holland

Fascinated with business, brains and how to use the brains on the payroll to make business buzz.
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