The Triumph of Faith Over Cynicism


We will all have witnessed the spectacular events of the 30th Olympic Games, over the past 17 days, from the outrageously lavish and theatrical opening event, to the jumble of imagery (from amazing to banal) in last night’s closing ceremony.  No-one can deny the outstanding success of this Olympics, on almost every level.

I believe the success of London 2012 is the triumph of faith over cynicism. Each end every one of the interested parties could have decided early on that it was doomed to failure, and they were on a hiding to nothing. It’s not difficult for that mindset to become embedded, and therefore become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

However, in team terms, they each looked one another in the eye and declared “I will not be the weak link in the chain – and neither will you”. They jointly decided to succeed, and to not only take responsibility for their own projects, but to integrate and cooperate with everyone else’s. If one part of the organisation was struggling, others stepped in to bring it back online. When one department received criticism (such as the transport planning, or security with G4S), the others gave support, and refused to let that project manager stand alone.

I expect to see an army of business consultants citing the London Olympics as an object lesson in ambition, teamwork, project management, and seeing things through. Even when there were mistakes, and there were, the way they have been handled (from my perspective) has been terrific.

If the theme of the London Olympics is to inspire a generation, then that need not be exclusively about athletes. All manner of organisations and businesses can draw direct inspiration from the outstanding team working on this project for the past 7 years.

Stephen O'Donnell is a lifelong recruiter, internet enthusiast, fadgadget and peripatetic writer.

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