It is safe to say we were all inspired by the 2012 Olympic games. None more so than the 70,000 volunteers who gave their time to ensure the event was safe and efficient. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a worldwide extravaganza where each nation sends their most gifted athletes to represent their flag. The athletic achievement is equal parts preparation and execution. National pride swells as flags are raised in tribute to the achievements of our country men and women. Inspiring to say the least!
The Olympic experience has drawn parallels to the professional world. While certain comparisons are unfair, it stands to reason that the Olympic cause is a magnet for cultural merriment. How can we attract such a cultural phenomena in our organizations?
I would pose the following challenge to organizational leaders as we race into the future:
Find your sport
Too often, I hear Executives request best practice reports, data from the competitive landscape, and ROI metrics. While I understand how the aforementioned characteristics will qualify you for the games, they will not win you a Gold Medal. Do you think Gabby Douglas asked about the Russians training regiment before she got on the mat…no, she identified her areas of strengths and pushed herself to go where no other gymnast had gone before.
Usain Bolt didn’t join the Jamaican Basketball team in 2012. He stuck to what he was good at and excelled.
As Leaders, why do we pretend to be someone we are not? Why do we allow our competitors to determine the marketplace and mirror their strategy?
It is vitally important that we determine the products and services that best utilize the unique talent in our organization. It is much easier to win the game if you are setting the rules of engagement.
Develop a rallying cry
As a young man, I saw Richard Reese give an opening keynote at our company’s national sales meeting. It was informative and engaging, I saw Mr. Reese as much as a Rockstar as he was a Chief Executive. He was direct in his vision and he knew exactly how to articulate it. I would have laid down in traffic for him.
The host country of the 2012 Olympics got here through the Leadership of the great Winston Churchill. When nobody else wanted the job of defending the free world from Nazi Germany, Sir Churchill accepted the assignment. He was unwilling to reveal any strategic weaknesses and through radio communication his steadfast resolution gave assurance to people that hope was not lost. Unknowing of the downside, people stood up against uncertainty.
In truth, the confidence a leader has in his/her mission can be the greatest driver of cultural engagement.
It takes a village
An organization’s culture and it’s importance to Employee Engagement are all the rave these days. Executives will instruct, “make us like Zappos”. Unfortunately, there is not a turnkey solution to Employee Engagement. You cannot install software, invite a speaker in, or have everyone read a book; and think that it will create a Magnetic Culture. Building an engaged employee network takes investigative intelligence. You have to roll up your sleeves dig into your employee population.
Find your outstanding talent and relish their thought leadership. Find your hidden talent and give them a voice. Let those on the medal stand to guide your nation.
There is nothing we will not do to serve a cause that we believe in.
It starts with leadership:
1. Know your strengths and utilize them tirelessly
2. Stand up and present your vision
3. Listen to your employees and take action
Thank you for reading!