Management lessons abound in the great win by Australia’s K4 crew in London.
- Co-ordination maximises the effect of input. For 1000 meters, the crew was absolutely co-ordinated, any minor deviation by any individual would have had a profound impact on the performance of the whole.
- Focus. Just watch the faces during the race, (if you can find a video, I can’t) focused is an apt description.
- The power of a team is greater than the individual power of its participants. The four here are no doubt amongst the best, and fittest of athletes in the competition, but it is highly unlikely they are the four fittest and best individually, they have combined beautifully to make the best team.
- Visualising the result. Each of the individuals trained enormously hard when not together, and they trained as a team very hard, but each time they did a training run over the Olympic distance, according to one of the interviews I heard, they did it as if it was the Olympic final, so when it came to the real thing, they had already done it thousands of times.
- When faced with disappointment, as several were in Beijing, instead of throwing in the towel, they analysed what went wrong, and set about fixing the problems.
- Control what you can control, and do not stress about what you cannot. The Aussies had a race plan that they executed, knowing what they had to do to win, but during the race, their focus was on their own performance, not that of their opposition. It was only after the line was crossed that they were sure the gold was theirs.
- Planning a support processes are vital. The four in the boat were only a part of the team that made the win possible. The short race was the culmination of years of planning, training, and refining, a classic continuous improvement case study.