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7 Business Lessons Learned from the Winter Olympics

7 Business Lessons Learned from the Winter Olympics

The Olympics are well underway in a part of the world that the United States has given a lot of attention to over the course of the last twelve months. This time, instead of talking about nuclear attacks and testing, the U.S. along with the rest of the world, is focusing on watching premier athletes compete in their sport.  

Sprinkled within this multi-day event are seven key initiatives all leaders can work toward implementing in their business. Uncover the lessons businesses can implement from the Winter Olympics.

7 Business Lessons Learned from the Olympics

Focus on the Team

This year, the entire of country of Korea is united. For 25 days, there is no North or South delineation, which hasn’t happened since 2006. They decided to put their differences aside, as a way to be globally competitive.

Make Tough Decisions, but Allow Compromise

The Olympic Committee stood by their decision to ban Russia from the Olympics due to a doping scandal. But, in the spirit of inclusion, they allowed individual Olympians to appeal to the committee. Because of this, 142 athletes are competing under the Olympic Athletes from Russia (O.A.R.) status and can win medals for themselves.

Say No

This year, the National Hockey League, decided not to take the 17-day hiatus from game playing to compete in the Olympics. This decision was based on collective fan feedback. Even under pressure from players and the Olympic committee, the NHL stuck to their guns.

Boost Efficiencies at Every Opportunity

It takes 2.5 hours to travel from Seoul to Pyeongchang by car. Seoul has the closest airport to the games. Rather than asking individuals to take a long car ride after a very long flight, South Korea built a high-speed railway that brought the time from one location to the other to a little over an hour.

In addition, the Olympics provides a 5G network, which allows photos, videos and text to be uploaded lightning fast. This improvement has been very well received by visitors. It gives media agencies the ability to share more stories with their home countries because of the speed and improved access points.

Move Toward Diversity and Inclusion

Athletes from 92 different countries are participating in this event. Six countries —Singapore, Malaysia, Kosovo, Ecuador, Eritrea and Nigeria—are vying for medals at their first Winter Olympics.

Transition this to business, according to research by McKinsey, gender and ethnically diverse companies are 15% and 35% more likely to outperform their competitors, respectively.

Instill Passion

Almost all Olympians nowadays are professional athletes who compete constantly all over the world. They are extremely passionate about their job and undertake grueling workouts and travel schedules for a chance to stand on the podium representing their country.

Have Grit

Many people may not know it, but this is Pyeongchang’s third consecutive bid to host the Winter Olympics. Even though they were very disappointed about losing out the first two times, they learned and got better with each bid. On February 16, 2011, when the IOC Evaluation Commission arrived in Korea for inspection of Pyeongchang, Commission Chairwoman Gunilla Lindberg said, "We have seen great progress over the two previous bids.”

According to Angela Duckworth, Author of Grit, perseverance is more important than intelligence and talent. It is the trait of high achievers. It helps leaders deal with problems and overcome obstacles.

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