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Looking for a new place to get your team out of the humdrum of the office for some team-building or leadership know-how? Now you can take them to the Olympics. Last year saw the launch of Olympic University, an institution with programs at the Olympic training site in Colorado Springs and in Lake Placid, N.Y. The first conference, which apparently happened last week, was called “Leading from Within” and had corporate types trying out Olympic sports ranging from judo to fencing to “goalball,” one of the paralympic sports. Executives chatted with leadership experts, athletes preparing for Beijing, and even took part in a torch lighting ceremony with a relay. “People don’t want PowerPoint slides,” says Alicia Mandel, Olympic University’s director, adding “we really try to get into the whole notion of Olympism.”
Upcoming conferences include a Women in Leadership program in April and a workshop later this month at Lake Placid where participants will try out bobsledding and skeleton as “a metaphor” for how to “drive results as a team.”
I don’t know much more about the program or how effective it will be. I do know, however, that a great contact of mine, Spencer Stuart executive recruiter and author Jim Citrin, speaks highly of Mandel and the program. At the very least, maybe you’ll come away knowing a little about how to bobsled, fence, or play goalball. Which may be even more interesting than walking away a better leader.
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