The Rio Olympics have officially started. The world is taken by the nice and warm frenzy over the hundreds and hundreds of hours of high-level sport performances. Athletes have been preparing themselves for years for what is about to happen in the next brief 19 days, and the planet will certainly be delighted by what they have to show.
Although the Olympic Games are a sportive event, it is also a multi-billion dollar business that has one of its scopes to infuse some heat into the city-host’s economy. Some of the largest companies in the world spend millions to show their brands during the event, such as Coca-Cola, Visa, and GE.
Okay, if you are running a small business, there’s nothing really important to learn from the whole thing, right? Wrong! There are plenty of valuable business lessons that can be learned by studying the behavior of the main stars of the show, the Olympic athletes. They are the champions, they are the best, and they know how to win and succeed, and that is essentially what business is all about. Here are four business lessons for you to put into practice today.
- No room for amateurs
Olympians are the toughest athletes on Earth. They are the best of the best in their respective fields as they work awfully hard for it. All the athletes competing in the Olympic Games live and breathe sports 24-7, no exceptions. They train, eat, sleep, rest, and live thinking about how to continuously excel at the sport they are participating in. This is no different from the business world because businesses must strive until their very limit, to get a glimpse of reaching success. If you are the kind of businessperson that is 100% business from Monday till Friday but then turns off the switch during the weekends, you would have some a harder time in making your business succeed.
- Every winning team needs a winning captain
Leadership is a must when it comes to team work. Undoubtedly, the most important aspect of any team is the human element, but the team leader is the one that can bring order to chaos and motivate the team when challenges seem unbeatable. In several occasions team leaders see themselves facing an imminent defeat and have to take immediate action to change the game, especially in the Olympics where the competition is so fierce. They motivate the team towards change and adaptation to adverse scenarios. Business leaders are also the sparkle needed to incinerate inertia into action, and push the team to the right direction. When everything seems to be crumbling, the business leader needs to step in and present fast solutions to overcome the obstacles.
- Ethics are a classic
I can’t stress enough on how badly the business environment needs to learn from sportsmanship. Countless companies believe in winning at all costs, which often include the breaking of rules as long as they don’t get caught. On the other hand, when it comes to sports, the topic is completely different. Olympians have shown their true greatness in many occasions by helping their fellow athletes when they fell down on track races, for example. Olympians compete with grace as well as fairness, because they know that is the only way that is worth winning. I’m not saying that you should call your biggest competitor right now, and tell all about your revenue model’s secret. But what about compliance? What about due diligence? How many companies get caught committing acts of fraud every year? Fair play is the only way to guarantee your business will be allowed to strive without fear.
- Never give up
This is probably one of the most important lesson we can learn from the Olympics. Do Not Give Up. Ever. Olympic athletes are globally known for always pushing it to the limit, even when everything seems to be lost, when that last step feels like it’s a mile away, or when that ultimate centimeter seems to be a kilometer long, Olympians don’t give up. They keep on trying, keep on pushing, and keep on BELIEVING they can still win. That is what’s in the very core of being an Olympic champion, and that’s exactly what businesses must do to succeed. Every company goes thru some very tough times, but what differentiates the greatest businesses in history from the regular businesses, is that they never give up and keep persisting despite the pain and misfortune. That is the most important thing your business can do. Remember, even if you crash into a hurdle, just pick yourself up and continue running forward because you will someday get over it.