For the last in this series of blogs on the Olympics, I wanted to share some thought leadership lessons I saw on display during the opening ceremony.
Lesson 1: Motivate individuals with impressive team goals
Picture Danny Boyle as the CEO of a small company with 7,500 volunteers. How did he inspire them to “work” an average of 150 hours each? We can only speculate, but perhaps having seen other Olympic opening ceremonies, the participants knew that their individual part would make an important contribution to the whole. Are you as a thought leader helping your teams see the bigger picture and understand how they are involved in a worthy cause?
Lesson 2: Recognize all the people who make successes possible
Those who helped to build the monumental Olympic Stadium were invited to take part in the opening ceremony, too, and donned hard hats to stand sentry at the entrance to the field. Are you as a thought leader aware of the contribution others have made to your success? Do you give credit where credit is due? Do you publicly praise and reward behind-the-scenes workers?
Lesson 3: Be prepared to give direction immediately, in real time
Comedian Rowan Atkinson, with his finger on one piano key and his mind apparently elsewhere, paid little attention to what the conductor or the rest of the orchestra did. The results were predictable but comic. Many of the other performers, even the children bouncing on beds, appeared to be wearing earpieces that allowed their leaders to give them real-time feedback and direction. Are you as a thought leader ”in people’s ears” and helping employees improve their performance just in time?
Lesson 4: Understand and use the power of humor
Arguably one of the most memorable moments of the show was the video of James Bond and Queen Elizabeth. She clearly demonstrated one lesson for all leaders: Don’t take yourself too seriously. In her acting debut, the Queen exuded a sense of fun and captured the spirit of the moment well. But she then entered the royal box with a grand sense of ceremony and great aplomb. Do you as a thought leader know when it’s an appropriate time for humor and when it isn’t?
Ask, assess, then act. We’re here to help.