The Olympics are always exciting. One, because they don’t happen every year. Two, because there’s always incredible story lines. Some athletes train their who lives for one fleeting moment. It’s amazing to watch. That’s why I wrote the Benchmark 5: Business Lessons From the Sochi Winter Olympics.

  1. Train tirelessly for a singular goal. Sometimes, it’s hard to lose sight of the bigger picture. When you’re an Olympic athlete, it’s probably hard to be training for something that is three years away. They stay focused and their hard work and determination pays off when they march around the opening ceremonies representing their countries. Stay driven.
  2. Be aware of cultural differences. With the Internet, it’s easier than ever for businesses to go global. It’s important to understand who you may be perceived in various places. While the @SochiProblems account has been entertaining, it’s gotten some blowback from some saying it’s American’s being snobby.
  3. Playing hurt isn’t always the best game plan. Bob Costas tried to stay on the NBC broadcast, despite having pink eye in both eyes. The conversation became about his eyes, rather than the Olympics. It’s honorable to play hurt, work sick, etc., but sometimes it would be at the expense of the best work possible.
  4. It’s hard to stay the best. Shaun White was attempting his 3rd straight gold this year in the Olympics. He fell in his final run, ending his golden hopes. When (if) you’re on top, remember how hard everyone else is working to get where you are. It will help drive you to stay there.
  5. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. Russia has gotten it’s fair share of criticism for the Sochi Olympics. Plenty of it is merited (like the human rights concerns). Some of it is probably unfair. At least Russia can also laugh at itself. When a video of the Russian Police Choir went viral, Russia decided they’d rather be in on the joke. They reprised their performance during the opening ceremonies, and boy is it gold. Sometimes, it’s ok for others to have a little fun at your expense. It will humanize your company and your brand.