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March 7, 2014

Olympian Habits that Will Make You a Better Manager

Business

Jeff Cochran

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The Sochi Olympics came with the stories of great success and triumph achieved by overcoming significant obstacles. The global group of athletes represented at the 2014 games devoted their lives to achieving athletic excellence, but the focused habits that got them to Sochi also translate to the boardroom. These Olympian practices can help you capture the gold as a leading businessperson.

Olympics

Break It All Down

Olympians don’t wake up one day able to complete a triple axel or race down the giant slalom. No, these skills are the result of years of dedicated practice during which outstanding athletes break down their larger goals into smaller, more easily achievable steps. The same idea applies to getting that big client or launching a successful IPO. Try approaching problems as smaller tasks; accomplishing each one will make you feel more capable and confident and help create the sense that you are moving towards that ultimate achievement.

Every Interaction Counts

Olympians are expert image builders. These outstanding athletes know how to work the media and they recognize that every interaction with the press contributes to shaping their overall image – this is how every business should approach the media. It’s not just formal press conferences or official interviews that count towards how your business appears in the public eye, but how well you can present yourself when those interactions are a surprise.

Managing Team Conflict

National Olympic teams are not typically made up of people who train together all the time and who have rapport to see them through conflict. These teams are typically made up of individuals who are more often competitors than teammates, and that can lead to conflict. An Olympic team, just like the teams internal to any business, must learn to manage conflict if they are to succeed. Successful business leaders understand how to negotiate with team members, work through tensions and competition, and focus on shared goals. Business leaders must also function like team captains, acting as the mediators between other teammates to prevent the team from disintegrating.

Keep an Eye on the Competition

Every Olympian hopes to come home with the gold, but to strive for that ultimate goal, peripheral vision is key. What is your competition doing, and is it giving them an edge? Similarly, business leaders should always know what the close competition is doing when it comes to business strategy, advertising, and more. This knowledge allows your brand to adopt techniques that are successful for the competition and can help keep your company ahead of the curve, moving swiftly towards that corporate medal stand.

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