What CEOs Can Learn From Fiji's Olympic Dream

What CEOs Can Learn From Fiji's Olympic Dream


What CEOs Can Learn From Fiji's Olympic Dream

By Mark Wager

Like many people my wife and I were watching the amazing gold medal winning performance by the Fijian rugby team. They were the favourites going into the final against Great Britain but one thing that sports history has taught us is that it's not the best team that wins, its the team that plays best on the day that wins. It's the ability to handle pressure that brings success and the Fijian team handled the immense pressure of the Olympic final to bring home Fiji's first ever gold medal.

What is true in sports is also true in business. The people who succeed are the ones who can perform under pressure and there's no role in business that has to cope with pressure more than the role of the CEO. The role may be called something different depending on the organisation but the Chief executive officer (CEO) is the highest ranking position in the company and is responsible for the developing and implementing of strategies that will determine the future of the company. If you make a mistake as a CEO the consequences can be huge, so it's vital that not only can they cope with pressure but also operate at their best in these pressure situations just like the flying Fijians were able to do. So while everyone is celebrating this historic success let's look at what lessons can be learnt so that we can transfer this success to the business world.

True success is measured by legacy

The role of a CEO requires a strong focus on immediate results because that is how they are generally measured. If a company is meeting their targets then the CEO is doing well and if they are not then the CEO is underperforming yet the best CEOs also focus on the long term because they know that true success is measured by the legacy that they leave behind.

Fiji's Olympic victory resonated far beyond the 43-7 victory over Great Britain in Rio. It was a day that the world took notice of Fiji and on Twitter Fiji was the most trending topic in the world. The achievement will not only bring tourism to these shores but also inspire the next generation of athletes because what was once considered impossible has now been made possible and that is true success.

Face pressure with a smile on your face

When I was watching the final, my wife made an interesting observation. Despite her limited knowledge of rugby she stated very early on in the match that Fiji was going to win. When I asked her why she thought that way her reply was simple, "they look like they are having fun" she said and she was right. Fiji played their usual expansive exciting game-plan and looked like they were enjoying the moment.

CEOs need to operate at their best under pressure and it's difficult, the thought of having the future of a company dependant on you making the right decision can be crushing, yet while the average person sees this as pressure, the best CEOs see this as an opportunity. Being in a position to mould the future of a company is a wonderful opportunity that very few people are lucky enough to experience. So smile, enjoy the moment and have some fun.

Celebrate and share success

Without a doubt, one of the most memorable scenes of the Rio Olympics was the moment when the team gathered together in a circle and sang the hymn "E Da Sa Qaqa" with tears streaming down their eyes.The emotion of what the moment meant to the players was clear, at the same time the celebrations were shared in Fijian homes wherever that may be in the world.

An often overlooked quality that all CEOs need is the ability to celebrate success. This can be overlooked as the CEO needs to succeed. So when they do the initial feeling is commonly relief. The best CEOs make sure that every person in their organisation is aware when things go well and that they share in the good news. Success breeds success so the more you celebrate today's success the more likely the chances are that you will succeed in the future.

Leadership is humility

I'm honoured to be in a position to coach CEOs from different organisations and I can clearly state that when CEOs fail the most common reason for that failure is the mismanagement of their ego. When you are in a role that's so important to so many people it's easy to overestimate your own importance. This is further complicated by the fact that studies have shown the higher your role is in an organisation the less likely you are to receive feedback from those around you. The best CEOs are known for their humility and are aware of their strengths and weaknesses and the role that everyone else has played in their success.

When the Fijian players went down on their knees to receive their gold medals they taught the world a lesson in humility. They showed that no matter what success you achieve even if that success is truly historic there's no greater success than showing humility in the face of victory.

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Posted: Monday 22 August 2016


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