As we start 2022 with the continual unpredictable world of COVID, reports show that mental health issues for business owners are high as they juggle the isolation, the great resignation and supply shortages. The Winter Olympics bring some welcome distraction.
As we watch the Olympics there is so much to learn from the athletes that don’t make the media headlines as much as our Summer Olympians. So rather than looking at what isn’t working, it is important to look at their achievements. This can provide us with some interesting business lessons:
Lesson 1: Draw on what you have learnt before
As we watch the mogul races where the skier comes down the slope completing one jump more and then a second jump, all with what appears no fear. It is evident that it doesn’t always go to plan. They may miss the first jump. They can’t stop, they need to keep going to get to the bottom. Also, one error does not mean that the whole event is lost.
For business this teaches us:
- If something doesn’t go to plan remember not to stop. Look at what you have achieved in the past and the skills or actions that you can take from there to keep moving forward.
- Technique is key in moguls and in business systems. Remember no matter what is happening with in business you need to look at your financial results and KPI’s regularly. This will keep the business moving forward but also help you to make decisions timely.
- Control only what you can control but use what you know to adapt.
Lesson 2: It is only one race; dust yourself off and keep going
Olympians train for 4 years for the Olympics and for the downhill skiers, missing one gate can cause the whole dream to end. When many of the Olympians who don’t make it are interviewed, the common phrase is they did their best and it is only one race. How many times in business do we have one disgruntled customer, staff member or stock issue etc. and we let this derail the business for weeks or months? Like the Olympians, we need to remember that when we focus on one upset customer, we tend to forget the other 100 delighted customers. Now, I am not saying that we don’t address the issues, as the Olympians also follow on to say they will review and learn from what happened.
Therefore, if something is not going right, we need to:
- Address the issues. Ie if there is a disgruntled customer, apologise and address the issue
- Review systems as to what you could change so it doesn’t happen again
- Do you need to do any internal training?
Lesson 3: Lift each other up
The most inspiring part of the winter Olympics that you don’t see with other sports, is the strength of the bond between the athletes. Commentators put it down to the fact that they live and travel together most of the year and that most choose the sport due to the sheer love of the adrenaline.
When the various events are finished, you can see the Athletes genuinely excited for their competitors even if last minute, they beat you to a podium place. As an athlete described it, the reason they are so delighted if someone performs better than themselves is that it encourages them to improve as they aim to lift each other up! What would it be like if we did this in business. Rather than seeing each other as competitors we challenged each other to not only do better in business but we did it with a hand up and showing kindness to our fellow businesses.
Could we challenge you this month:
- If a business makes an error, don’t write a scathing google review. Seek to understand what went wrong and perhaps it is human error. Accept the correction to the error
- Send a thank you card to a business owner
- Meet with other business owners and share ideas
Lesson 4: Control only what you can control but use what you know to adapt
In the winter Olympics the elements play a large part. For example, when you are doing jumps the wind can cause havoc, along with fake snow etc. But the show must go on. As we are bombarded with headlines of the great resignation and as small businesses struggle to find skilled staff to fill rosters, it is important to look at:
- Initially, what can you do to ensure that your team are content without affecting the sustainability of the business?
- You cannot please everyone. At the end of the day staff are not machines so through nothing you may do, staff may choose to look at different options. When I talk to business owners 99% of the time it is challenging at the time staff leave because knowledge leaves with the person. However, once they get the perfect replacement the business always propels forward more than it would have with the original staff member. This is due to the new talent and someone new looking at what you do and how you do it.
- If you can’t find staff, are there processes that you can adjust that the current team could do if you broke the task down?
- Is it a chance to review your client and/or products and services as to if they are profitable or if it is time to change what you are doing?
- We are seeing many clients also adopting the great resignation as business owners by downsizing their businesses to suit their personal goals.
We hope this provides you some inspiration for a great year ahead!