Five tips to manage your business at an Olympic level

The 2010 Winter Olympics provide great examples of how the most successful organizations and leaders can achieve greatness. Here are five practical pointers for your life and work as demonstrated by the best athletes:

1. Find and Foster Passion. Lance Armstrong declared, when asked after he won his 6th Tour de France bike race why he had accomplished what no other person had ever achieved, “Passion made the difference. Passion.” This fervor releases tremendous energy that propels people forward toward their purpose. Intense desire, zeal, and enthusiasm-passion-is the fuel that keeps you and your people going. What are you doing to foster passion and keep it burning? What are you doing that hinders that enthusiasm? How can you unpack those hindrances from your pack and take them off your back?

2. Align Passion with Clear Purpose. Ask the gold medalists, American snowboarder Shaun White or skier Lindsay Vonn, what was their purpose. The definitive answer would likely be, “Do my absolute best and bring home the gold.” Top athletes have visualized achieving their purpose thousands of times-in their dreams, meditations, and visualizations. They have a clear purpose and a vision of living it. Do you and your organization have a clear purpose? What is your vision? Can each employee describe that vision in detail?

3. Pursue Through Participation, Focus, Preparation, and Persistence. For seventeen magical days, people across the globe are united as Olympic spectators watching great athletic feats. Yet, you can not live life to the fullest and take your business to new heights on the sidelines. Do NOT be a spectator in your own life and business.
• It takes participation. Pursue your dreams by actively performing with your whole focused self – head, heart, and hands. It requires courage to fully commit.
• It takes focus. You must say NO to many things in order to say YES to your passionate purpose. Many of the winners avoided media coverage in order to concentrate on their true purpose.
• It takes preparation. Consider the decades of training and sacrifice of so many of the athletes. Recognize the homework you and your team have done.
• It takes persistence. Recall how Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal, the skier who was seriously injured at the World Cup in 2007 in Beaver Creek, picked himself up, slowly healed, and continued with determination to come back to win a gold medal in the Men’s Super G in 2010. You need to continue even when the going gets tough.

Are you and your people fully engaged or are they leaving part of themselves on the sideline?

4. Assess Progress. In Olympic competition, it is well defined what it takes to win. You must receive the highest score, however it is measured, while following the rules. This is also the case in work and in life. However, as organizational leaders you have more influence in determining, based on your own values, how success is measured. How do YOU define success-is it financial performance alone, or does success also include living true to your highest convictions, having fun along the way, maintaining integrity of effort, and balancing work with the rest of life? Do you have clearly defined metrics? Do you have regular assessments built into your calendar-monthly, quarterly, and annually?

5. Connect with Proper People. The winners do not do it alone. The best athletes, and business leaders, have many people who support their pursuits-a coach, financial supporters, friends and family, and teammates. Who is on your support team? Thank and appreciate them, and give back!

Not surprisingly, these winning pointers are consistent with the proven “Pursuit of Passionate Purpose” formula for success in business and life.

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Categories: Company Perspectives, Management & Leadership