A while ago, our very own Ben Hunt-Davis told his story of the Sydney Olympics. On the second day of the games, before Ben won his gold in the coxed eights, Britain’s first gold medal came from cyclist Jason Queally in the men’s one km time trial – Ben had never heard of him!
That could never happen now because the 2012 Games turned Olympians and Paralympians into genuine heroes and role models. These Games were different; sport had the power to cheer a nation despite the best efforts of the British media to make us feel negative and miserable. You may remember on the lead up to the Games, we were often reminded of all the things that’d probably go wrong. Comments such as: ‘it’ll never be a success’, ‘transport will be a nightmare’ and ‘the events will be half empty’ were just a few of the things said to demonstrate what an embarrassment the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games would be.
The cynics were proved wrong; even during the wettest summer on record the British weather chose to ignore them too. Yes, we actually had some sunny days! Our clients at Transport for London and Greater Anglia coped magnificently and London didn’t come to a standstill and most Britons are proud of what we did, the show we put on and the achievements of Team GB. Sport changed the mood of the nation and seemed to affect the weather!
Six months later there’s still a feel-good factor about the 2012 Games, but what about the lasting benefits? Will there be an Olympic legacy? There’ll no doubt be lots of varying opinions as to whether there really is one. What’s your view?
Consider these questions:
- did the 2012 Games inspire a generation?
- are disabled people viewed differently as a result of the Paralympics?
- when you think about the 2012 Games, does it bring a smile to your face?
- can you remember the names of any Olympians and Paralympians?
The answer is right there: the feelings and emotions evoked by the 2012 Games are the Olympic legacy.
At Rambutan we love learning from experiences and making connections and we believe that the comparisons between sport and business are endless. For example they’re both driven by success; dependent upon dedicated people; there’s a need for clear goals and objectives; there’s an opportunity to learn from mistakes; and a need to continuously improve performance and develop skills.
While Lance was taking time out to think about what the Olympic legacy meant to him, he recognised another similarity between sport and business; it’s around the legacy itself. It all came about when he was working with a group of senior leaders and he asked them to think about other leaders they admire. They could choose a world leader, a leader at work or someone who was a friend or family member.
As a group they discussed those different leaders they admired; about the impact these people had had on them; what they made them think about; how they made them feel; and how they affected their actions. It doesn’t matter which person was being discussed, they had all made an impact in some way. This impact was their legacy.
After a small pause (to allow thinking time and, okay, for dramatic effect) Lance asked the leaders: “What do you want people to be saying about you in ten years’ time?; What do you want your legacy to be?; Are you doing everything you can to create the legacy right now?”.
What’s clear is that anyone can be a leader; you don’t need to have ‘leader’ on your badge. What’s more, we all have a legacy and we control what it’ll be. So here are another couple of questions for you:
- what do you want your legacy to be?
- what are you doing to make it come true?
Citius, altius, fortius – as they say.
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