The Winter Olympics 2014 at Sochi provide inspiring examples of what the human spirit can accomplish and some interesting concepts that can apply to your business.
Consider these approaches that are important to Olympic performance and may be applicable to your business. (Updated from my article on the Summer Olympics of 2008)
The four year planning horizon
Update your current Business Plan by looking back four years, then planning ahead for the next four. Review the results for 2010 and define your new Olympic performance objectives for 2014 to 2018 with specific milestones for each year.
Focus on your strengths
Choose to compete in the areas where you are most likely to succeed. If aerial skiing manoeuvres are not your specialty, then focus on speed events. Style is not important, just first to the finish line. (Actually, maybe style is important, check: It isn't figure skating but .... )
Commit to your plan
You have to be committed to the effort required over a long period of time to achieve world class performance. Make the choices necessary to either give it your best effort over a long period of time or quit now and find a new path to succeed in meeting your business goals.
Push your limits
Test your capabilities and endurance to the maximum. "Tear and Repair" is the way to build strength and endurance in muscle tissue; maybe in your organization too.
Learn from the leaders
What do the top competitors do that you can also do? Look at their preparation and training techniques; the little things that add up to a big difference.
Learn from your losses
Study your own performance and learn what makes the difference between your best results and your second best.
It's not for the money
You have to love it enough to do what it takes to be a winner. The money will follow if you have the passion and persistence to excel.
There is only one gold medal
You may have to settle for being the fourth, or sixteenth, best in the world at what you do. That may be sufficient to meet your needs for accomplishment and success in life. Even number one doesn't stay there for long. Accept your position and move on.
Prepare for upsets
The best competitors know how to deliver for the big events and usually avoid disappointment. In spite of that, you could still be the upset winner when the opportunity arises, if you are equally prepared and committed to maximum performance when it's required.
Have a world class support team
Coaching makes a difference. Check that your consultants, advisers and support staff are up to the Olympic standard.
The short-term glory of victory will eventually be replaced by the long-term disgrace of breaking the rules.
Don't quit too soon
One of the Olympic ski jumpers was still contenting in the final jumps twenty years after winning his fist Olympic medal.
These concepts from the Olympics may be applicable to aspects of your business. Perhaps getting you to world class performance too.