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Olympic Games

| August 14, 2012

by Jim Bruce

Today’s reading “Olympic Games” is a reflection from Julie Shuttleworth, member of the 2012 Leadership@Penn cohort.  She is Director of Administrative Affairs in the Provost’s office at the University of Pennsylvania.

She writes:

With the 2012 Summer Olympics having just ended, I am reminded that it takes vision, hard work, dedication, presence and some natural talent to succeed in any endeavor.  It also isn’t ever a truly individual effort, the athletes have families/friends/teammates/coaches who encourage, push and help them along with way.

Just as the athletes participating in the Olympics had to train to get to the Olympics, we are all using this leadership learning (or training) opportunity to become better (future) leaders.  The leadership program will enhance our individual leadership skills and the cohort’s leadership skills.  Just like the athletes do in order to succeed, I have tried to set a goal (reflecting on where I and the organization want to go), strategizing on how to get there (planning a vision), implement those strategies (using skills learned in class), involve those around me (nothing should happen in a vacuum), and making changes as necessary to succeed.  I also get support and encouragement from my family/friends/cohort/coach/coworkers/boss – my network.

Success takes many forms for the Olympic athletes:  winning, placing, finishing, personal bests and working as a team.  My/our success will also take many forms:  leading change, allowing others to lead, strategically planning for the future, implementing, being observant, while listening and communicating effectively and making the right decision at the right time. 

The Olympic athletes worked hard to meet their goals.  I have been trying to work hard challenging myself to have a positive mental attitude, to have vision, to strategize, to coach/help/guide others be the best they can be, to learn as much as I can from my and Penn’s successes and failures (and Penn State’s failures too) and to ignore my email first thing in the morning.

Our leadership journey is a longer journey than the three weeks of the Olympics but I’m trying to focus (at least a portion of my day) on growing my leadership abilities.

So, as Julie wrote, challenge yourself to have an Olympic attitude – practice, practice, practice –  about your goals and become the leader you were meant to be.

Have a great week.  .  .  .     jim