Focus and Discipline of Olympic Athletes

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One of my favourite events for the Olympic Games is gymnastics. The choreographed performances are artistic and graceful, yet intense. The routine on the balance beam is a demanding 90 seconds which calls for razor-sharp focus and precision.

As soon as the gymnast mounts the beam, every jump, turn and acrobatic move needs to be executed precisely. As an observer, the moves look effortless. To the athlete, the performance is the result of countless hours of training. There is no coincident that each move glides flawlessly on the 4-inch wide beam and that “stuck landing” from the dismount ends with both feet planted firmly on the ground.

An Olympic athlete is trained to be focused and disciplined. Focus and discipline apply to his training, diet, life style, and handling of pressures. Alexandra Raisman on the U.S. women gymnastics team is a good example. Despite tremendous competitive pressure from fellow teammates, she placed second in the women Individual All-around qualification round.

In your business, are you exercising focus and discipline? Many businesses keep themselves overly busy with many initiatives. As a result, resources are spread thin and the outcome is less than desirable. It is the responsibility of the management team to enforce focus and discipline. It is tough to make a “no go” decision.

Here are several questions you can ask yourself:

    1. What is the impact of the initiative?
    2. What happens if the initiative is delayed?
    3. Do the resources have the buffer to take on the new initiative on top of their current commitments?
    4. Is there any work that can be delayed to make time for the initiative?
    5. Are the customers affected when resources are reassigned to the new initiative?
    6. What are the critical success factors for the initiative?
    7. Does your business have the necessary skills and expertise?

If the responses to the above questions lean more favourably to a delay, do so. Pushing too many initiatives concurrently disperses attention and no doubt quality suffers. It takes undivided focus and discipline to prepare and deliver a gold medal performance. Let’s exercise the same with running your business.

© Connie Siu 2012. All rights reserved.

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