It is just wonderful, and inspirational to watch the Olympic athletes who have spent years of dedicated training and commitment go into their respective events and do their absolute best.
The attitudes of the humble winners, and the attitudes of the gracious non-winners who are taking away what they need to improve, are behaviours that are to be admired. These are behaviours befitting of a Sporting Life, and these are behaviours we also like to see in Work Life.
The selflessness and focus required of athletes to do their best in their respective roles in team competitions is key to any medal. This is the same for companies. Excelling in your respective role is what is going to make the whole company be most competitive.
If everyone goes about their business for their own good, rather than the good of the company, then winning as a team is going to be tough.
Let’s take an example.
To my understanding, prior to 1989 professional athletes were not able to take part in the Olympics. This included basketball. A change in that ruling saw the US, which has the best players and competition on the planet being allowed to assemble the “Dream Team”, a collection of the All-Stars of the NBA.
In the summer of 2004 the “Dream Team” comprised of the crème de le crème of the NBA was selected. Twelve Players. Average salary? At a minimum, approximately $13 million per player, per year.
The US put on the court a $156 million dollar team of players that were largely playing against amateurs.
They trounced the competition? Right?
Wrong. The $156 million dollar “Dream Team” started off by suffering one of their biggest losses in US Olympic history to Puerto Rico, a small country of about 3 million people, and struggled to even get a Bronze Medal in the end. They had a team of champions, but they all went out there and individually tried to play their own game without playing as a team.
There are plenty of examples like this with sporting teams, and with businesses. You can hire the best, and you can pay the highest wages, but until everyone plays their role as a team player, there may never be a Gold Medal.