Thursday, March 02, 2006

Smart Strategy, Olympian Results

The forty one per cent increase in Canada’s medals at the Olympic Games proves that smart strategy does work. No rocket science here—set the stretch goal (own the podium: finish third by getting 25 medals) but don’t just pray. Walk the talk with serious investment in the athletes. Too bad it took us so long but better late than never.

Australia woke up to the value of “strategic planning” almost 40 years ago when its athletes fell short in the 1967 Olympics. The Australian Institute of Sport is touted as a model for other countries, particularly in golf, which is now an official Olympic sport.

What did it do to get at least four times the number of golfers in the Masters in comparison to Canada? Australia deliberately tackled the issue on a number of fronts: recruit top athletes, provide them with access to top facilities and coaching, increase cash support and opportunities for getting experience and deepen the research on human performance and technology. Never let up. Learn as you go. Keep the funding flowing Presto! Significant and positive change happens.

In its wisdom, Canada took notice. In preparing for the 2006 Olympic Games, our Olympic Committee leaders adopted or intensified the modeling of Australia’s ideas, including those of other successful countries, and the rest is history. The enlightened policy of the same resources and access for both sexes paid off in spades, proving that investment in human potential without judgment can be a win-win for all.

These Olympian results---24 medals with a phenomenal showing by women---demonstrate clearly the power of leadership. With golf as a new Olympic sport, and the more focused and wise leadership mindset on what it takes to succeed, we may have the pleasure of a second Canadian winning the Masters sooner rather than later.

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