Top 3 Business Takeaways from the Sochi 2014 Olympics

With that in mind, we have compiled a list of the top 3 business takeaways from Sochi. 

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1. Success is a team sport. 

If the Olympics taught us anything it's that success is a team sport. Gilmore Junio demonstrated this best when he voluntarily gave up his skating spot in the 1,000m race to his teammate Denny Morrison because he felt that Morrison would do better. And Morrison did just that: He won silver.

What's the takeaway for business? Eliminate silos and hierarchies at all cost, and focus instead on creating an organizational culture where everyone, regardless of role, position or experience, feels like they are playing for the same team.

2. Winning doesn't happen overnight.

The Sochi Olympics was record breaking for Norwegian biathlonist Ole Einar Bjoerndalen: He became the oldest Winter Olympic gold medalist (at age 40), and he broke the record for most decorated athlete (13 medals). His success, like that of all Olympic athletes, did not happen overnight. It was the result of years of grueling training and unyielding determination.

What's the takeaway for business? Before embarking on any project, be brutally honest with yourself, and with others, on the "incubation period" - the minimum amount of time needed for the project - to achieve desired results. Once the project is underway, don't allow anyone to put the brakes on it before the "incubation period" is up. If you do, you'll never know if success was possible.

3. Coach - don't Manage. 

Ask any Olympian to name the 5 most important people in in their lives, and chances are their coach will be at the top of the list. Patrick Chan, the Canadian figure skater who took home silver at Sochi, credits his late coach, Osborne Colson, for believing in his abilities and teaching him lessons beyond the rink.

What's the takeaway for business? Manage projects, not employees. Carve out time each day, even if its just 5 minutes, to coach and mentor your employees. Not only will your employees be more engaged, it will give you, as their manager, confidence in their ability to succeed.