Many of us will have absolutely enjoyed the success of the New Zealanders who participated in Rio at the Olympic Games. People often draw parallels between business and sport and success and failure. There are certainly a lot of parallels in terms of planning, organisation, mobilising resources, taking good advice and ensuring that the people involved have the skills and experience to deliver on the day. Critical also is having the resilience to succeed, sometimes when it looks like the odds are stacked against you.
So what can we learn from our Olympians success and failure from a business perspective - here are a few of my observations: Firstly note the reflections after the games about whether an Olympian will commit to the next Olympic cycle. This is a smart move and the parallel in business is always to take some time out of your business to critically evaluate where you are and what your next plans are. This is often referred to "working on the business" instead of what we always do in "working in the business".
The second thing is to assess how the performance of the athlete(s) was against expectations. Did they live up to their ranking and perform as expected. If they didn't why was this the case? There are plenty of parallels here around competitive environments for businesses. Sometimes athletes perform at the highest level and ahead of predictions and yet may not medal because the competition has stepped up another gear beyond that of the athlete.
This is often the case in business where in spite of a business performing at the highest level either a disruptive technology and/or significant developments in the sector and investments by competitive businesses can lead to a very challenging business environment. The third parallel I would draw is that as a nation we ""punch well above our weight"" on medal per capita basis yet our investments in sport are not necessarily at the same high levels on a per capita basis.
This means we have to be smart about what we do and how we do it. This is a very close parallel with business as it forces us to focus on what we do and innovate and to be smarter about the things we do. The final parallel is the ongoing learning and development that we all have to do whether it be in business or sport.
If we think that we have enduring success because we have had record sales or major investments, you know it is time to step back from the business. Like a gold medallist the opposition is always close and you cannot for a moment step back from your commitment to ensure that you are meeting your customer's needs.
DERYCK SHAW APR CONSULTANTS