As Rio 2016 gets underway, it’s the perfect time for business professionals and leaders to recognize core attributes that make an Olympian—and how we can emulate them. Professional athletes possess many traits that are relatable to business organizations but two key habits stick out to me as the most accessible: practice and consistency.
Olympians are extremely familiar with these because they impact change. Maybe that’s why Malcolm Gladwell introduced the “10,000 hour rule” in Outliers. He makes the case that becoming successful at anything requires practicing a specific task for 10,000 hours. Practice is hours, sweat equity, dedication, sacrifice, goal-setting, and learning. All these components are essential to growth and continued improvement and performance.
Consistency is key to individual success, and holds value across team performance. In team dynamics, the experience they put forth is the most important deliverable they can present. Consistency across individual representatives on behalf of a larger organization is key in effective communication and making deals. Similar to any track & field team, business leaders understand that individual growth and overall team performance rely on each other and are vital to success.
Whether it be an office, meeting space, or a track, all over the world we can see success paying off from the combination of these two habits. At this summer’s Olympic Games, I have the pleasure of watching a live example of just that. A high school teammate of mine, Christina Epps, is representing Team USA for triple jump in Track & Field events. I’ve watched her for over a decade focus in on her goals, and use her abilities to build into something bigger and bigger and bigger. It’s been an undulating journey for her but one thing was evident throughout: the dedication to practice and consistency.
Go, team, go!