AMIDST the celebrations at the Olympic Games I think the champions, and the torch bearers who carried the flame the length of Britain last month, are of great symbolic value to business leaders.
They represent much more as symbols of the Olympian ideals. They symbolise some of the best aspects of being human: our ability to hope and dream that is so strong for some people that it causes them to devote their time and energy to the pursuit of being an Olympian. They represent the incredible flame of the human spirit that enables individuals and teams to strive to be the best they can be and reach new heights in their endeavours. They also represent some of the highest standards of being human: integrity and trust. As many medal winners are elevated to become national heroes and torch bearers were nominated for their contribution to their community, they also symbolise the value of giving and helping others.
As a business leader I suggest that you are a, perhaps the, main torch bearer or champion for your company, and that you take on this privileged role with the responsibility associated with the position. You can use the metaphor to reflect on and think about leadership of your company and how well, for example, you enthuse your employees to be the best they can be and give their best to your business.
What are your hopes and aspirations for your business and your employees? Do you want your company to be the best at what it produces or provides, and an employer that people really want to work for? How determined are you to achieve your aspirations? It is easy to say that you want your company to be the best at what it does, but what does this mean in practice? How often do you clearly convey your hopes and aspirations for your business and employees to them, and how well do you inspire your people?
What are your ideals and standards? What do you value, believe in and stand for? How well do you model the values and behaviours that you expect of others? I suggest that you are always being watched, especially by your immediate management team but also by the wider management group and employees! Where do you 'set the bar' and how much effort do you put into helping people to achieve the standards you expect?
I suggest you seize the opportunity to think about what being 'Olympian' might mean for you and your company!
:: John Marrin is a leadership coach based in the North East and is a published author on leadership. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org