Roger Bannister

If Your Company Competed In An Olympic Sport, Which One Would It Be?

The 2018 Winter Olympics are now over, and we all have memories of some of the amazing feats that our athletes achieved, as well as the disappointments they endured.

In seminars, I often share the Roger Bannister/John Landy story of how the 4 minute mile was broken in 1954 and then quickly broken again, to illustrate what is possible when you have a clear goal to achieve and can follow in the footsteps of those before you. What you may not know is that Roger Bannister never won an Olympic medal; in fact, he only competed in one Summer Olympics in 1952 and finished fourth! He credits that loss with his record-breaking moment; had he won at the Olympics, he would have retired rather than pressing on. He went “beyond Olympic Gold” to have lasting impact and inspired generations of runners. On March 4, 2018, Sir Roger Bannister passed away at the age of 88. Nobody really remembers who wins Olympic gold in 1952… but we all remember what Roger Bannister achieved.  In the 64 years since the first time the 4 minute mile was broken by Bannister, more people have climbed Mount Everest than run as fast as he did. Whether Winter or Summer Olympics, there are some important business lessons in every Games if you look for them. Get your team thinking in new directions and inspired as you reflect on the special moments of this year’s Olympics.

Ask your team these 3 questions at your next meeting:

1. If our company ‘won gold’ at the Olympics, what would it be for?

Think about it. Would you win in curling, because you excel at reaching your targets? Would it be speed skating, because you’re the best at speed-to-market? Perhaps ice dance, because your company is so flexible? Or hockey because you excel as a team? Or, is more training required before you have any hopes of a podium spot? Try having each member of your team write the answer to the question on a post-it note, stick them on the wall, and compare notes.

2. Why?

Asking the “why” behind the “what” will give you some interesting insights into each member of your team and how they view the strengths of your company. What AHAs! did various members of your team experience as they watched Olympic Gold unfolding at the Games through February? It’s a great conversation to take throughout your organization.

3. What goal “beyond Olympic Gold” do we really need to achieve in our business in order to have lasting impact?

McDonald’s “supersizes” things (which, admittedly is not always a good thing).  Avis “Tries Harder”.  I want you to “Bannister-size” things. Is your current Olympic Gold enough, or is it holding you back from something bigger? What is the milestone that your company could claim and be long-remembered for? How will you achieve it, and when? Brainstorm this with post-its. You may be surprised by the results of this provocative question!

Tell us your story below. How this will impact your business, and what you achieve when you ask the question! Let me know if I can help you achieve it more quickly and easily I’d love to hear from you.

#1 Bestselling Author, International Speaker, and Accelerator Anne C. Graham is on a mission to help 5 million business leaders and their teams double their profit per employee – or more – in less than one year, in less time per week than they’re spending on email per day. Her new book Profit in Plain Sight includes the 5-step proactive P.R.O.F.I+T Plan to do it.  Connect with Anne on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.