Get Your Business in Olympic Shape
How are ANY of us supposed to concentrate when team USA is killing it in Pyeongchang?
We’ve got Nathan Chen throwing 6 quads, we’ve got the “Shib Sibs” taking home the bronze, we’ve got Chloe Kim eating a churro after her halfpipe annihilation, and we’ve got Adam Rippon just basically being flawless.
Team USA is crushing it.
And we can’t get enough. Each night we’re obsessing over run times, rankings, costumes, and performances. Sports that we had no use for before (looking at you luge) have now captured our hearts. It’s safe to say we have Olympic fever. And, while the scores and medals truly dazzle us, it’s the athletes that impress us even more.
These Olympic all-stars are dedicated, disciplined, and have some amazing stories—stories that can truly inspire greatness in your own business.
The Bronze: Stay creative.
When they zig, you zag.
That’s how 17-year-old Red Gerard won his gold medal. According to Max Parrot, a fellow Olympic snowboarder: “He’s a very creative rider. Always taking a line nobody does.”
Often in a business, people naturally fall into patterns. Maybe it’s the classic “this is the way we’ve always done it” excuse. Or not challenging business decisions. Whatever the reason, push yourself to always embrace creative solutions and approaches.
Feel your creativity lagging? Here are the top three ways to recapture it:
- Consider reverse mentoring. Pair with someone from a different generation to cultivate new ideas and perspectives.
- Try new things. Whether you paint or skydive, challenge yourself to break up your routine with activities you haven’t yet tried.
- Ask employees. Stumped on a business problem? Turn to employees who face it every day to gather their thoughts and suggestions.
The Silver: Know how to find help.
In January, Chris Mazdzer was in a bona fide slump. The luger doubted himself, his athletic abilities, and his potential. And yet, less than a month later, he claimed the first Olympic medal in men's singles luge.
So what turned him around?
It was a kind gesture from a Russian Olympian. The athlete, noticing the slump, offered Mazdzer the use of his luge—a shocking gesture from a competitor. As the Washington Post describes it: “It’d be like a NASCAR driver lending his car or a sprinter passing along his lucky shoes.”
Mazdzer accepted the help. While the loaned luge didn’t suit his frame, the gesture spurred him past his insecurities and onto the awards podium.
Help comes from unexpected places—people, technology, and even dumb luck. Sometimes the signs are obvious. Sometimes they’re subtle. But everyone, at some point, needs help.
It’s particularly hard for business owners and resource-strapped small businesses, as most employees juggle multiple responsibilities and have no fallbacks. However, there are more options for assistance than companies may realize. These include:
- Reassessing your resources. You may think you have no help, but that’s often because you’re overlooking an existing solution. You may be resource-blind. For example, are you using all the features of in-house technology—or at least exploring if those solutions can supplement your resources?
- Exploring new resources. If it’s taking too long to pay bills, look into how automation can safely accelerate the AP process. Struggling with marketing? It may be time to hire an agency or freelancer.
- Turning to colleagues. You’re not the first to face a resource challenge and you won’t be the last. Go to local meetings frequented by business owners. Ask them if they have creative fixes or unique approaches to problems you’re facing.
The Gold: Take big leaps.
On February 11, figure skater Mirai Nagasu made history. She nailed a triple axel in the Olympics—the first American woman to do so. You can’t help but be completely taken with her awesomeness.
The former Colorado Avalanche Ice Girl was passed over for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. She staged a comeback, qualifying for the team for the Pyeongchang Games.
So how many jumps did she plan for her team performance? One.
That’s quite a risk for a sport resplendent in Salchows, toe loops, and flips. But taking a big leap at the end—and nailing it—clearly paid off. As Nagasu explained to NBC: "It's just one jump in the program. But at the same time, it's really cool for me because I am one of the few that has the ability to land it.”
Let Nagasu’s confidence and drive inspire you and your organization. Sometimes, you must take risks to succeed. It’s a simple lesson, but one that can yield great results.
You may not set a record in speed skating or dominate the slopes, but by emanating these inspiring Olympians, you can push your business to the next level.