In his latest blog for Infologue.com, David Ward of Ward Security takes a look at the lessons we can learn from the Rio Olympics. David writes: “Team GB can be rightly proud of its performance at the Rio Olympics. With 27 Gold medals and 67 medals in total, Team GB finished second in the medals table. This is the UK’s highest placing since the 1908 Olympics which were held in London and at which we topped the table. Our second place finish at Rio even beats our third placing at the 2012 London Olympics.
“Of course, we have to concede that a severely depleted Russian team worked in our favour, but it’s still a great achievement, especially considering we beat China which, with a population of over 1.3 billion was able to send a much bigger team. Size doesn’t always matter.
“The Olympics can, and should, be a great inspiration. But the games can also teach us many lessons about what can be achieved if more conscientious effort is applied, as well as the value of organisation and support.
“With regards to security, the Olympics have always presented a major challenge to the IOC and the host nations. With so many countries and their supporters in attendance, many of which will be locked in political dispute or aggression with other competing nations, and with international terrorist groups salivating at the potential to make a statement on a global scale, security needs to be at its highest level.
“In the case of Rio, there is the additional challenge of an inherent high crime rate in the city, with 2,036 killings from January to April, and countless robberies. Indeed, many stories emerged during the games of journalists, visitors and even competitors finding themselves on the wrong end of armed robberies and muggings.
“That the Rio Olympics passed without major incident is a testament to the effectiveness of the high-level security applied. In today’s unstable global political climate few people could be surprised if another 1972 Munich style attack had been attempted.
“But returning to the issue of inspiration, from a business perspective the team GB achievement at the Rio games shows us that a concerted effort and a little more focus can result in great rewards, even when the competition is considerably bigger and more powerful. In a competitive environment these are the things that ultimately make all the difference. The same applies to business. Every four years records are broken at the Olympic games as competitors’ performance improves. The only way to win is for athletes to improve their own performance until it is better than the other competitors.
“In business there will always be competitors looking to up their game and eat into your market share, so the only way to secure your position is to continually up your own game. Resting on laurels and underestimating the competition can be just as fatal to the ambitions of a business as it can to the ambitions of an athlete.
The things that make the difference are the levels of service you supply, and the breadth of service you offer. The market requirements evolve, so your offer needs to evolve to match.
“At the same time it is important to appreciate the value of innovation, especially as the market evolves.
“At the 1968 Olympics in Mexico new foam matting was introduced to the high jump event. This allowed jumpers to experiment with techniques where previously they had to land on their feet. America’s Dick Fosbury figured out that by launching himself over the bar and landing on his back on the foam matting he could achieve greater heights, and hence the legendary Fosbury Flop was invented. Fosbury recognised a change in the competitive environment and was the first to work out a way he could take advantage. The Fosbury Flop remains the dominant style of high jumping to this day, and as the architect of the style, Fosbury wrote his name in the history books.
“So while the Olympics is certainly entertainment and a chance to celebrate the achievement of the national team, there will always be lessons of inspiration we can all learn and apply to our business lives”.
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