Perhaps no one understands how to dominate in a niche better than Olympians. These are the people who pour heart, soul, hours, grit and guts to get the glory of the Gold medal.
If you saw the medal counts from this year’s Rio Olympics, you know the United States came to win. In terms of total medals, the United States ended with a total of 121 medals followed distantly by China in second place with 70 medals.
The winning strategies employed to reach this world domination in the Rio Games work both on and off the field (or in and out of the pool). As it turns out, many of them can be used to turn your business into a powerhouse player too.
Here are seven strategies from Olympians to help your business get the gold quarter after quarter.
- Plan for the Good Times and the Bad
Michael Phelps is no stranger to the Olympics. Rio was his fifth and final (according to him) games. With 23 gold medals, which far surpasses any other Olympian, it makes sense to pay attention to his strategies for winning.
His secret: Creating a vision for every scenario that could go wrong.
Bob Bowman, Phelps’ coach says he envisions the perfect race from the stands, from the poolside and from the water. Then, he goes through each scenario for what could go wrong.
The only rule in business is that something will go wrong. The chances of a perfect launch, perfect customer experience 100% of the time and perfect manufacturing flow are overwhelming slim. By anticipating glitches, you’re better prepared to tackle them head on when they do occur, keeping your business moving more efficiently.
- Operate Distraction Free
When the world is your audience and the track is your stage, you’re surrounded by distractions. Flashing lights, pushy reporters and cheering crowds are enough to jolt any Olympian off her game unless you’re Allyson Felix.
Her secret: Tuning out the noise.
She told Sports Illustrated, “I don’t hear any noise around me. I’m just completely dialed in to what I have to do.”
Like the Olympics, in business, distractions are plenty. It’s easy to have shiny object syndrome, drifting between the latest and greatest new strategies. But to win, having a relentless focus on your goal is the key to tuning out the rest of the business world. This way, you can keep the momentum moving forward instead of sideways.
- Teamwork = Harmony
In a self-penned article on Inc, Olympic gold medalist Ryan Millar from the 2012 Men’s Volleyball Team described his tips for winning.
One of his secrets: Find harmony as a team.
In business, like on the court, teamwork is all about collaboration and communication. You can’t make plays if you’re focused on your independent success exclusively. Find harmony with your team and you’ll win.
- Use Your Senses
When you have an off day, it’s easy to get down on yourself or your business. The ability to stay positive is priceless, according to Anne Kursinski, an Equestrian Olympian.
Her secret: Employing positive mental imagery.
She uses all of her senses to imagine what the perfect win feels like. From what the announcer says to the way the contact with her horse feels, she’s in tune with everything that needs to happen for her to put a win on the board.
In business, you can do the same by imagining everything from what the press needs to say about your business to what a perfect workflow looks like for your company.
- Losing Isn’t an Option
No one goes to the Olympics to lose, so for swimmer gold medalist, Garrett Weber-Gale, visualizing loss isn’t an option.
His secret: Never think about losing.
By blocking out the idea of a loss, you aren’t living in denial; you’re maintaining focus on the desired result.
In business, imagining your company coming in second or third to a competitor is worthless. Keeping a laser-focus on coming in first on every bid, sale or transaction is key to performing your best.
- Breathe, Believe and Battle Through Challenging Times
Kerri Walsh Jennings former coach, Troy Tanner used to tell her to “breathe, believe, battle.” Breathe and be in the moment, believe in your training and battle to the end. This mantra ended up helping her win the gold in beach volleyball in three consecutive olympics - 2004, 2008 and 2012.
Her secret: Breathing, believing and battling through every challenging time.
In business, you will undoubtedly hit a roadblock or two (or ten). When this happens, you’re faced with a choice. You can stumble and focus on the fall, or you can keep the breath flowing through your company by creating a firm belief that you can overcome the obstacle by battling to the end.
- Recognize that Some Things are Out of Your Control
When it comes down to it, some things are out of your control. For Merrill Moses, the goalkeeper of the men’s water polo team, that’s a given, which takes a tremendous amount of pressure off his broad shoulders.
His secret: Only focus on controlling the controllables.
In business, there will be some situations that will rock your performance. These situations might be out of your control. Instead of wallowing over a fall, keep your eyes facing frontward. Recognize that there are certain things you’re not able to plan for, predict or push aside. You must keep rolling no matter what life and business throws your way.
Listen to the Olympians
If business were easy, anyone would do it. The same goes for winning Olympic gold. Are you following the examples of Olympic medalists in your business?