The end of a successful London 2012 Olympics, heralds a return to reality not least for the people of London who played host to the world for two straight weeks. Numerous events, achievements and incidents occurred during the week, but a critical factor for me was the superb organisation which provide some great lessons for any business to embrace and emulate.
Below are four great lessons from the London 2012 Olympic Games:
- Never promise too much – the organisers of London 2012 did not promise more than they could deliver. In fact, the closing ceremony performance at the Beijing 2008 Games gave little hint of what was to come as the Olympic flag was handed over to London Mayor, Boris Johnson
- Wow them with your opener – The opening ceremony for London 2012 was a real eye opener for people on just what the Games could deliver, and they did not disappoint.
- Deliver the goods – The most important part of the Olympics are the games, and London 2012 successfully delivered in terms of: organisation, audience participation (apart from early issues with rare tickets vs. empty seats), television coverage (the BBC coverage was outstanding), and a remarkable medal haul for the host nation.
- Be gracious in your exit – The games concluded with a music laden closing ceremony, and the Olympic flag was passed with some aplomb to Brazil, the next host nation which also gave a taste of what to expect in Rio de Janeiro come 2016. Even the departure experience at Heathrow Airport was something to write home about.
“Successful”, “fantastic”, “enjoyable”, “brilliant” were some of the descriptive words used by athletes, volunteers, organisers and spectators at these last Games, and those are words that any business should like to hear coming from their clients, customers, employees and partners.
You might be forgiven for thinking that these make rather strange bedfellows, especially considering as they don’t often appear together in the same sentence; at least not as frequently as Architecture and Governance, or perhaps Innovation and Start-ups. In my view, this sad state of affairs is all set to change.
I recently did a BrightTalk Webcast on just this topic, and although the research for it was rather daunting at first, it eventually became clear, from talking to experts on both topics, that the key challenge was how to identify the best role, or sweet spot, for Enterprise Architecture (and all it can bring to the table) in a fluid and dynamic business context / environment. In my opinion, this sweet spot is nestled right between the more forward looking aspects of business model innovation and agile development.
When taken together, rapidly changing business models and agile development techniques do not necessarily make for the most robust, repeatable and best-governed business / technology processes or environment, and this is precisely where certain key aspects of Enterprise Architecture could bring much needed value. These and other issues were the focus for this webcast, and the slides can be found on the Slideshare website. Enjoy…
The recent Leaders in London event brought together some great business leaders (e.g. Jack Welch & Muhammad Yunus) and inspired speakers (e.g. Rudy Giuliani & Carly Fiorina) to share their thoughts on the main topic du-jour for most CxOs, i.e. how to lead their organization through the current economic crises.
This two day event, chaired by author / business guru, Rene Carayol, succeeded in delivering immense value to attendees, (ranging from newly minted MBAs to seasoned CEOs), and included additional master-class days by business thought leaders like Dan Pink and Daniel Goleman. Key messages from my attendance on day two includes:
- The former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, emphasized that the role of leadership in times of crises was about motivating people, fostering & recognizing teamwork, and remaining visibly present and optimistic even during the toughest of times.
- Legendary CEO, Jack Welch, gave a moderated interview / Q&A session, (via satellite link), with his classic forthright opinion on a variety of topics e.g.: the current economic crisis (a breakdown in the financial industry); management theory (only pundits think new management models are the answer); and emerging markets like Nigeria (challenged young leaders to change the game). I could not resist asking if there were any applicable lessons to be learnt from the recording industry’s own crises. His answer: It was caused by technology innovation; therefore need to respond with innovation, in the business model.
- Richard Reed, Co-Founder of Innocent Drinks, described their journey from start-up to becoming a successful company with firm values of fun, sustainability and focus on doing one thing well.
- Inspirational leadership helped retired US Naval Commander, Captain Michael Abrashoff, to turn his ship from the worst to best performing ship in the US Pacific fleet. His mantra: give up control, achieve command.
- Prof. Vijay Govindarajan (Tuck Business School) stated that organizational strategies should be focused on creating “next practice”, and not adopting current best practice. Also that strategy architecture should address five key areas of: non-linear shifts, strategic intent, core competencies, growth playbook and new competencies
- According to Prof. Gary Hamel, (London Business School), management has stopped evolving and most companies now have more or less the same management models. His hierarchy of desirable management outcomes covers traditional qualities like: Obedience, Diligence and Intellect, as well as the emerging need to inspire Initiative, Creativity and Passion in employees.
Overall, this was one heck of an event, even if only for the quality of invited speakers, but the key message from most of the sessions I attended was about the critical value of inspiration and motivation as the best way for leaders to engage people into delivering above and beyond the call of duty, particularly in these most turbulent of times.
Note: Originally posted on Capgemini’s Technology blog. You can see the original post, including comments, at: http://www.capgemini.com/technology-blog/2008/12/leadership_in_tough_times.php
According to a BBC News article, a US court has found against a woman in the first case of an individual contesting the claim of illegal file sharing by the RIAA. It would seem that the birds are finally coming home to roost for the recording industry’s legal truncheon against this activity, but the question remains as to who really wins/loses out in the deal?
The initial impression is that this outcome would deter others from contesting similar claims in future, instead seeking to settle out-of-court by paying the few thousand dollars demanded by RIAA. It certainly seems better than the threat of having to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars should they lose their legal appeal as in the case of the above defendant (She has been ordered to pay over two hundred thousand dollars in damages).
However some analysts are of the opinion that this could very well be an own goal by the recording industry for several reasons:
- Major labels may now wish to rely more on these lawsuits to protect their profits instead of fully focusing on creating more innovative and profitable business models for their music content.
- Customers are being further alienated by their possible exposure to this type of legal threat, especially where they cannot prove they did not download the content. It was the neighbour’s cat. Honest.
- Finally the lawsuits do not seem to have had any significant impact on the rapid decline of the recording industry’s CD centric business models, nor has it provably reduced the sharing of files by consumers.
In the words of Paul Resnikoff, Editor of DigitalMusicNews, ‘time is running out’ for the major labels, therefore they should focus their dwindling resources on more constructive initiatives than individual infringement lawsuits, if they are to survive this seemingly terminal market disruption.