As the Summer Olympics come to a close, there are many life lessons we can take from the dedication and perseverance our athletes have shown. Many of these lessons can also be applied to the way we run our businesses. Here are a few Olympic Takeaways:
1. Everyone Loves to Be Part of a Winning Team
I read a study identifying the difference between generation X employees and generation Y employees. One of the top considerations for this new generation of employees is being on a Winning Team. Let’s face it: recent economic turmoil has only reinforced the logic behind choosing a winning company. No one wants to find themselves joining the next Kodak. I often talk to newly hired employees asking why they chose to join GGS and more times than not I hear that they like how successful we are. GGS is a leading greenhouse manufacturer not just in North America but around the world. If a research facility in Kenya, and a seed company in Japan choose to buy GGS greenhouses then they know this is a world class winning manufacturer, and they want to be part of our team.
2. Goals count
These platitudes have been totally overused but I might as well write them one more time:
“If you shoot for the stars you might reach the moon”
“If you fail to plan you plan to fail”
Do you have a goal for your company? Is it articulated to everyone in the organization? Walt Disney was quoted saying “Of all the things I've done, the most vital is coordinating those who work with me and aiming their efforts at a certain goal.” In my first year at University one of my friends was the roommate of Marnie McBean. We thought Marnie was a little crazy. She had a giant rowing machine that took up 80% of the floor space between the two dorm beds, and got up EVERY morning at 3 AM to go row in the pond. Marnie thought she was going to go to the Olympics, Marnie expected she would win gold. That was 1987. In 1992 Marnie McBean won 2 Gold Medals in the Summer Olympics in Barcelona. Goals Count for everyone on your team, give them something to work towards.
3. Acknowledge Achievements
This is my favorite takeaway, because it is something the Olympics does very well. Poster boards and updates, news feeds for the athletes, and for the spectators. And of course there are the Medals. Every participant comes with the same goal, to be #1. And in front of the world the Olympic Committee recognizes each and every person who achieves that goal. But in my opinion they do one better, they also acknowledge the contribution of the two who came closest. How do you recognize your employees? Do you recognize not only the ultimate stars but those who have contributed enormously, even if they missed the mark by 13 seconds?