Management Lessons from a Triumphant Olympics

Posted by: Nanette Byrnes on February 26, 2010

Members of the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team won gold and silver yesterday in the sport’s final Olympic event. It was the culmination of an amazing winter games for the team, which won medals in all three of the sports’ competitions. It was also one of the more amazing turnaround stories of the Olympics.

How Nordic Combined went from dead last in the world in 1988 to regular trips to the podium is a lesson in slow, deliberate growth managers at struggling US companies like General Motors, Delta, or even the New York Times Co., might take a page from.

Tom Steitz, who we first wrote up on the blog last week, took over as Head Coach for the team in those dark days of 1988, inheriting little money or athletic talent to work with. But he set a methodical approach to turning the team around, and set ambitious goals that put it on the path that would lead to Vancouver.

On February 14, one of the skiers he recruited and helped develop, Johnny Spillane won the silver in the first of three events, the first American ever to win a medal in the event. On February 25, Spillane repeated his silver finish in the large hill Nordic Combined, crossing the finish lines seconds behind teammate Bill Demong, who’s gold medal makes him the nation’s first ever champion in the sport. In between four of the American team, including Spillane and Demong, won the silver in the Nordic Combined team competition.

How do you get from dead last to dominating at the most important contest in the world? Steitz seems some lessons in the team’s transformation that can be applied to business. No longer the team coach, Steiz is now a leadership consultant who works for big companies like Johnson & Johnson and Hewlett-Packard. Be he’s still a welcome adviser to the athletes, and spent February at the Games.

Here are some of the lessons he learned from Nordic Combined that he thinks apply to businesses looking to win.

* Move the unproductive out quickly - Right away Steitz overhauled the coaching staff and started to hunt for promising athletes who had good team spirit, who wanted their teammates to do well.

* Set big goals, and plan to build to them - Just attending an Olympics couldn’t be anyone’s goal, Steitz says. They had to want a medal, and every athlete had to be improving whether they were already easily going to make the team or not. Steitz tied those goals to fund raising. He asked sponsors for modest contributions up front, but a promise that they’d give more if the team rose in the world cup rankings. That strategy took them from the worst funded team to the best competing in the 2002 Games.

* Spend time together — Steitz relocated the whole team and all their coaches, nutritionists and medical staff from all over the country to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. He lost a third of his athletes and staff, but he knew those who stayed were committed.

Not everything from sports transfers to business, of course. A coach will invest 10 to 15 years into training an athlete, Steitz notes, only to find that competitor’s age start to slow them down. Corporate managers face a different problem: the chance their great talent will jump ship for another company.

How likely someone is to pick up a headhunter’s call is one of the metric’s Steitz recommends managers track. And it’s one he uses to measure his own performance. Of course there’s no goal medal for coaching.

TrackBack URL for this entry:http://blogs.businessweek.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/

Reader Comments

tinnitus treatment

March 4, 2010 11:24 AM

That first tip is especially apt for sporting competitions.

In real life, someone may be difficult to convince to move on elsewhere and simply stick around for the salary.

In sports, this hardly ever happens. Nothing is more important than the team.

Chris
http://www.endyourtinnitus.com

Jessica Anne

March 10, 2010 12:25 PM

Great post! You're right, management teams can learn a lot about goal setting from Olympic athletes!

Jessica
Cheap Term Life Quotes
Discount Home Lending

Jessica Anne

March 10, 2010 12:25 PM

Great post! You're right, management teams can learn a lot about goal setting from Olympic athletes!

Jessica
Cheap Term Life Quotes
Discount Home Lending

Jessica Anne

March 10, 2010 12:27 PM

Great post! You're right, management teams can learn a lot about goal setting from Olympic athletes!

Jessica
Cheap Term Life Quotes
Discount Home Lending

software development

March 12, 2010 06:05 AM

As a part of software development i always like to do something new with software with good management... And ya in every area management is most emportant

andychen

March 12, 2010 05:46 PM

welcome to: http://www.loveshopping.us

The website wholesale for many kinds of fashion shoes, like the

nike,jordan,prada, also including the jeans,shirts,bags,hat and the

decorations. All the products are free shipping, and the the price is

competitive, and also can accept the paypal payment.,after the

payment, can ship within short time.


free shipping
competitive price
any size available
accept the paypal
http://www.loveshopping.us
jordan shoes $32nike shox $32
Christan Audigier bikini $23
Ed Hardy Bikini $23
Smful short_t-shirt_woman $15
ed hardy short_tank_woman $16

Sandal $32

christian louboutin $80

Sunglass $15

COACH_Necklace $27

handbag $33

AF tank woman $17

puma slipper woman $30

http://www.loveshopping.us

Theresa Turner

March 14, 2010 09:17 AM

I would like to thank Del for it's STYE MEDICINE.. I'm living proof it kills the herpies virus..... Thank You so very much....Theresa

etootoo001

March 21, 2010 01:17 AM


============ http://www.etootoo.com ==========


sells clothing,footwear,handbags,Sunglasses

Our products sell well in Europe and North America.
Our main product list is as follows:
1.Fashion Sports shoes:
Shox,Dunk,Jordan, Air max, Air force,Adidas, Puma,Prada,D&G, Chanel,
Gucci, Lacoste, LouisVuiton,Bape,Evisu,Timberland,ugg,boots,Burberry,
4us,Hogan,Dior,Greedy
Genius,Versace,Convers,Coach,Dsquared,Maurt,etc.
2.Fashion T-Shirt & Jeans & Jacket:
Bape,AF,AAF,BBC,Evsiu,Juicy,GGG,Burberry,ED-Hardy,Chanel,G-Star,Red
monkey,Christian
Audigie,sinful,lacoste,POLO,Armani,Smet,Baby,Levis,Justcavalli,Versace,
============ http://www.etootoo.com ==========
True
Religion,Artful Dodger,Rock,Coogi,Crown Holder,RMC,etc.
3.Fashion Handbags:
LV , Prada , Chanel ,D&G, Fendi , EDhardy, Burberry , MIUMIU ,
Gucci ,Chloe , Juicy and Chole,Burse,etc.
4.others:brand watches(rolex,Longines...), belt(d&g, gucci, prada,
chanel, burberry.... ), hats, sunglasses etc.
we sincerely hope to establish the business relation with you.
Looking forward your visit.A

============ http://www.etootoo.com ==========

etootoo001

March 21, 2010 01:18 AM


============ http://www.etootoo.com ==========


sells clothing,footwear,handbags,Sunglasses

Our products sell well in Europe and North America.
Our main product list is as follows:
1.Fashion Sports shoes:
Shox,Dunk,Jordan, Air max, Air force,Adidas, Puma,Prada,D&G, Chanel,
Gucci, Lacoste, LouisVuiton,Bape,Evisu,Timberland,ugg,boots,Burberry,
4us,Hogan,Dior,Greedy
Genius,Versace,Convers,Coach,Dsquared,Maurt,etc.
2.Fashion T-Shirt & Jeans & Jacket:
Bape,AF,AAF,BBC,Evsiu,Juicy,GGG,Burberry,ED-Hardy,Chanel,G-Star,Red
monkey,Christian
Audigie,sinful,lacoste,POLO,Armani,Smet,Baby,Levis,Justcavalli,Versace,
============ http://www.etootoo.com ==========
True
Religion,Artful Dodger,Rock,Coogi,Crown Holder,RMC,etc.
3.Fashion Handbags:
LV , Prada , Chanel ,D&G, Fendi , EDhardy, Burberry , MIUMIU ,
Gucci ,Chloe , Juicy and Chole,Burse,etc.
4.others:brand watches(rolex,Longines...), belt(d&g, gucci, prada,
chanel, burberry.... ), hats, sunglasses etc.
we sincerely hope to establish the business relation with you.
Looking forward your visit.A

============ http://www.etootoo.com ==========

etootoo001

March 21, 2010 01:59 AM

http://www.etootoo.com

Thank you support of numerous clients
customers to buy the corresponding product on this site, both
a gift, so stay tuned! !

(I)Our Company is Online store, and we alawys offer top quality sport

shoes, famous brand shoes and sportswear at good price.

(II) In the past 6 years, we have sent great many products to the

customers in USA, Europe, ASIA and other area, also we have lots of

experience in dealing with online business oversea

(III) Generally, Goods are delivered in fast and safety way Of course,

shoes and clothing will be packaged in original box with tags
http://www.etootoo.com

HOT SELL Product Brand is below:
UGG BOOT ,nike shoes,air jordan shoes,nike shox shoes,gucci shoes ,true

religion jeans, ed hardy jeans,coogi jeans,affliction jeans, Laguna

Beach Jeans,ed hardy T-shirts,Coogi T-shirts,Christian Audigier T-

shirts,Gucci T-shirts,Polo T-shirts,coach handbag,gucci handbag,prada

handbag,chanel handbag .
our price:
CA POLO EDHARDY GUCCI T-SHIRT $15;
TRUE RELIGION EVISU G-STAR COOGI JEAN $36;
AIR MAX NIKE SHOX JORDAN JORDAN FUNSHION JORDAN RING SHOES $35;
GUCCI COACH shoes DG shoes $33
coach chanel gucci LV handbags $32;
edhardy New Era POLO cap $15;
coach okely prada nike DG Sunglass $16;
free shipping

http://www.etootoo.com

Business Coach

March 22, 2010 03:37 AM

As a part of business coaching field i always like to know something creative... here really staff has done very balanced work and lessons are impressive.

Business Coach

March 22, 2010 03:38 AM

As a part of business coaching field i always like to know something creative... here really staff has done very balanced work and lessons are impressive.

dingdong

March 22, 2010 10:10 AM

n an effort to curb malicious comment posting by abusive users, I've enabled a feature that requires a weblog commenter to wait a short amount of time before being able to post again. Please try to post your comment again in a short while. Thanks for your patience.

dingdong

March 22, 2010 10:19 AM

50%off ca,ed hardy t-shirt$15 jeans,coach handbag$33,air max90,dunk,polo t-shirt$13,,lacoste t-shirt $13 air jordan for sale,$35,nfl nba jersy for sale

free shipping
accept paypal credit card
lower price fast shippment with higher quality

our website: http://clotheshops.us/

BEST QUALITY GUARANTEE!!
SAFTY & HONESTY GUARANTEE!!
FAST & PROMPT DELIVERY GUARANTEE!!

Packing: All the products are packed with original boxes and tags also retro cards/ code
numder


Features: AAA QUALITY, COMPETITIVE PRICE AND SERVICE
1) The goods are shipping by air express, such as EMS,the shipping time is in 5-7 business days
2) They are in stock now;
3) Various styles and color for clients' choice
4) The Products are fit for most people, because of our wholesale price

puma gucci$35,nike jordans six ring,yeezy$%5!!

new era caps$13 gucci handbags jeans,t-shirts sunglass,caps

true religion jeans$35,ca,ed hardy jeans$35

LV,CHANAL,HANDBAGS$35

NIKE SHOX AIR MAX TL3 OZ NZ ONLY $35

UGG TIMBLAND LACOSTE SHOES ED HARDY SHOES$35

DIESEL T-SHIRT,GSTAR T-SHIRT,CA T-SHIRT,50% OFF FOR SALE $15

DIOR SUNGLASS,DG SUNGLASS$15

our website: http://clotheshops.us/

replica watches

March 22, 2010 09:12 PM

jamesd

March 25, 2010 12:02 PM

Online Tips for Education

There are a variety of online degrees that you can earn, no matter what your field of interest or experience. Some examples are: accounting, health, technology, psychology and business administration. A lot of the time when you are pursuing online degrees while employed in a related career, employers may give you tuition assistance. Look into opportunities like this at your place of employment. With additional education and an online degree you can be proud of, you may even find yourself climbing higher on the corporate ladder with a raise or promotion…………

www.sangambayard-c-m.com

Golf

March 27, 2010 04:26 PM

Great post! You're right, management teams can learn a lot about goal setting from Olympic athletes!

กล่องไปรษณีย์ . Princo . Verbatim . Bluray . กระดาษ Glossy . DVD

joy

March 27, 2010 09:13 PM

===== http://www.shoes2.us ====

Air jordan(1-24)shoes $30

Handbags(Coach l v f e n d i d&g) $35

Tshirts (Polo ,ed hardy,lacoste) $15

Jean(True Religion,ed hardy,coogi) $30

Sunglasses(Oakey,coach,gucci,A r m a i n i) $15

New era cap $12

Bikini (Ed hardy,polo) $20

accept paypal and free shipping

====== http://www.shoes2.us ====

joy

March 27, 2010 09:13 PM

===== http://www.shoes2.us ====

Air jordan(1-24)shoes $30

Handbags(Coach l v f e n d i d&g) $35

Tshirts (Polo ,ed hardy,lacoste) $15

Jean(True Religion,ed hardy,coogi) $30

Sunglasses(Oakey,coach,gucci,A r m a i n i) $15

New era cap $12

Bikini (Ed hardy,polo) $20

accept paypal and free shipping

====== http://www.shoes2.us ====

gigo

March 29, 2010 10:27 AM

Post a comment

 

About

How can you manage smarter? BusinessWeek writers Nanette Byrnes, Patricia O’Connell, Emily Thornton, Matthew Boyle, Michelle Conlin and Diane Brady synthesize insights from the brightest business thinkers, critique the latest management trends, and comment on leaders in the news.

BW Mall - Sponsored Links

Buy a link now!