Leadership Lessons from the 2012 Summer Olympics

Part 1 of several of leadership lessons I learned from the 2012 Summer Olympic Games

1) If you mess up, fess up and dress up. People understand and accept we are only human. Nothing goes further than acknowledging the mistake, taking ownership and accountability, and fixing it.

2) When you are the greatest, and on world stage – Do and say something to inspire the masses. Instead of saying how great you are, inspire others – maybe through your struggle to get to the top… or maybe honor somebody else that inspired you.

3) The Mighty Will Fall – be nice to the people on the way up, because you will be meeting them on the way down. In other words, check your arrogance and ego at the front door. Walk and talk the life of a servant leader. That makes me proud to be your fan.

4) There is no quick fix – shortcuts will come back to haunt you. Your options are “Pay now or Pay later”… you are going to pay as everyone gets caught somehow, some day. The law of the harvest – long term investment will ensure your legacy.

5) Winning and Losing showcases the true character of the person. I saw more winners that placed dead last in their heats or games. The way they handled defeat, adversity and humiliation speaks way more about their true character and who they are, then a medal.

6) Humility is mother of all virtues. Win or lose, share your happiness, showcase others, honor your opponents, put them above you – hold them the pedestal (the podium). Do that and I will become your biggest cheerleader and follow you through thick and thin.

7) Tell me about your journey, more than the moment – a split second race ends pretty quickly. Your daily struggle, habits and focus is what inspires me the most to want to be like you. Because at the end of the day, we will forget about the race and be thinking about the “what’s next”. Teach me the journey as that will sustain me during the good, the bad, and the ugly.

8) Even though all of us cannot have a gold medal, all of us can have a gold medal performance. Meaning… no quick fixes or shortcuts; put her all on the track; pick yourself up if you fall and get back into the game; and in that moment of choice, leave your legacy by doing something to honor and inspire.

More lessons to come next week


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