Olympian Workers: What Does It Take?

by Michael Haberman on August 11, 2008 · 0 comments


As we see images of the athletes competing at Bejing in the Summer Olympics we marvel at their physical prowess, mental toughness and dedication to their sport. Wouldn’t it be nice to have this kind of dedication and ability in the workplace? What does it take and how can we translate this into human resources terms?

  1. Talent. Most of these athletes show a natural talent for the sport they participate in. So if you are looking for someone with natural talent you have to have the proper screening tools. If you want someone to do something for you it is important that they have done it before. How do you find this? Behavioral interviewing is a good start. The best predictor of future behavior/success is past behavior/success.
  2. Allow the failures. Athletes are not instantly great at what they do. They have to practice. So train your employees. Athletes are allowed to fail and to show improvement. Do you have a culture that allows failure as long as people improve from it?
  3. Recognition. Standing on the podium to hear the anthem. The public recognition of your success. What public acknowledgement do you have of a job well done?
  4. The Gold Medal. The reward, the acknowledgement of success. What reward do you have for people who achieve? Compensation of some sort? A bonus, a pay increase, a promotion? Depends on the achievement and the culture. But the reward needs to be there.

Think about how you can make your employees Olympians and reap the rewards of having great employees dedicated to achieving their best. It would be interesting to know how all the Home Depot athletes measure up as employees.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous August 11, 2008 at 4:55 pm

Excellent Analogy!

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Wally Bock August 11, 2008 at 5:28 pm

Nice post and good points, Michael.

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