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Friday, February 23, 2018

Lean Quote: Olympic Lessons for Success

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well." — Pierre de Coubertin, father of the modern Olympic Games

Like millions of others from around the globe I have been glued to the TV watching the winter Olympics from Sochi. Once again the eyes of the world are on its best and brightest athletes as they attempt to push the human body to new limits, and remind us that our best human qualities — determination, perseverance, innovation, sacrifice, and camaraderie – know no bounds.

As much as the Olympics represent the pinnacle of the sporting world, they are also the source of a number of inspiring stories that showcase both the human spirit and what we can accomplish when we strive to be our best.

To that end, I’d like to share some important lessons for leaders on how to guide their organization to succeed and thrive, regardless of the challenges that stand before them.

Lesson 1: Olympians know no goal is impossible with the right mindset. If you want to succeed, don’t lose sight of your goals. Stay unwaveringly motivated. Your focus determines your results. Focus on the right things.

Lesson 2: When Olympians suffer an inevitable setback, they don’t let themselves succumb to doubts. You can’t compete at the highest levels without inner-confidence. And when you do get a taste of success, don’t rest on your laurels. You have to pivot, hone in on the strengths that have carried you so far, and overcome adversity with perseverance.

Lesson 3: There’s no substitute for surrounding yourself with the best possible team. With the right players, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish. Don’t compromise on talent, and hold yourself to the lofty expectations people will place on you.

Lesson 4: Olympians break through excuses. Many businesses will face immense challenges on the road to success. They will also be presented with opportunities to overcome these challenges. Don’t squander your potential with self-imposed limitations. Don’t make excuses for why you cannot engage more fully. Capitalizing on your chances is a matter of being dedicated and sacrificing for the greater good of the business.

Lesson 5: Olympians never stop learning from mistakes. In business you need to measure everything so you can analyze how to be more effective, more productive, and more profitable in the future. What gets measured gets improved. You never settle for good. You always strive to be great. It’s an attitude of constant improvement.

Lesson 6: Olympians give 100% commitment to their goals. You have to give 100% commitment to what it is you want to achieve. Without a doubt those that are competing have committed themselves 100%. They don’t expect it to be easy and are ready and willing to do what it takes.

To achieve success businesses and leaders within them need to take a long term view. The reality is there is no shortcut to success. These lessons above show how we should approach our leadership and guiding the people we lead towards achieving our shared goals.

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