Go for the Gold: 5 Business Principles to Learn From Olympians
Entrepreneur and CultureIQ are searching for the top high-performing cultures to be featured on our annual list. Think your company has what it takes? Click here to get started.
The 2014 Sochi Olympics are underway and already there are a host of triumphs and failures from the winter games. The Olympics inspire the masses, but competitors have more that just inspiring back-stories and physical feats to offer us -- they have important business parallels to impart.
Here are five things every entrepreneur can learn about the blueprint basics of becoming business champions from the 2014 winter Olympians.
Big vision. You can’t get to your metaphorical Sochi arena without first having a vision that arriving in an Olympic stadium is possible. What separates someone who just skis from someone who skis the Olympic downhill course? To start, big vision.
You need an end goal so big that it inspires you. You have to want to stand on the podium of success so much that you pursue your passion to the ends of the earth, no matter where the games take you. To get through the daily grind of being an entrepreneur, to get to your own “there,” you absolutely need to have a clear, big vision.
Tenacity. Stick with it through the falls. The Olympians are literally and figuratively falling all the time and getting back up. Do you see figure skaters stay on the ice and cry after a fall? Of course not. They pop back up and get on with the routine so quickly you almost wonder if you really saw them hit the ground. Think of the thousands and thousands of falls they endured to get to this Olympic event to prove their stuff. Entrepreneurs must turn their falls into tenacious triumphs, just like Olympians do.
Grace under pressure. Think your pitch meeting is hard? Olympians train their entire lives for an event that will grant them only a matter of minutes to shine. Talk about the ultimate pitch session. They too are pitching an important panel of skilled individuals who will judge their performance and poise in those brief few moments and rate them accordingly. They’ll also do this in front of a live audience of thousands while being televised to the entire world. Do they choke? Rarely.
Train for pressure. Train to be your best. Then when you arrive at your next pitch meeting, you’ll remember your training. Grace under pressure is a skill every Olympian can teach entrepreneurs.
Mentors. Every time you see an Olympian competing in Sochi, you’ll also see someone else: their leader. Olympians call them coaches; entrepreneurs are more likely to refer to them as mentors. Whatever name you call them, these leaders are essential to perform at an Olympian level.
Mentors have been there before you. Mentors know the way. Mentors can help you accelerate your own performance by teaching you from their mistakes and successes.
These coaches push their athletes during training and cheer for them during the moment of their performance. Mentors will do the same for you and push you to the highest limits of your own personal capability. These athletes in return work hard, listen to the advice offered and push themselves to be the star their coaches see in them. You can do the same. Learn from the Olympic athletes and get yourself a coach. Your performance will make the investment well worth it.
Teammates. There are many incredible teams competing in Sochi right now. Bobsledders and curlers, hockey players and skating pairs -- the list goes on. These teams are great because of the cooperation between incredibly talented individuals. The team goes further and faster with the momentum of players offering up their talent and surrendering their self-interest for the vision of the team.
This is true even in the individual competitions. The freestyle skiers are in competition for their own best, but also for the good of the team overall. Each skier has a team of coaches, coordinators, physical therapists and other support staff that make the team goal of the individual’s success their overall mission. Teams make you great.
As an entrepreneur, you’ll never achieve the biggest vision of your passion without an amazing team. It’s up to you to select, support and sell them on your vision and surrender your interests to get them on board for the overall greatest success of your vision. Be an Olympian and assemble the best team available.