header
"It's not so much that we're afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it's the place in between that we fear ... it's like being in between trapezes. It's like Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There's nothing to hold on to."
Marilyn Ferguson

Get Leadership Notes by Email

Good afternoon all, and greetings from a tired, and very proud city. The Games were a smash success, especially for Canadian hockey fans! And, once again, I saw a remarkable moment of leadership in the speech by John Furlong, CEO of VANOC, at the closing ceremonies. Three things struck me about his speech as points for our work as leaders:

1. The importance of the volunteers -- Furlong did not simply mention the work of the 25,000 volunteers, he spoke eloquently and powerfully about them. In our organizations, as much as financial resources are vital, it is the people who actually make the organization work. We can talk a good game about efficiencies and effectiveness, but in the end, our success is dependant on the individual choices made by the people who turn up to work with us each and every day. Their buy in to the success of our organizaton is vital.

2. The importance of focus -- the staff and leadership of VANOC were great examples of staying focused; knowing exactly what we're delivering, how we're delivering and to whom. Furlong's comments about the first and last Gold medals won by Canadians and all of the efforts, "excitement and agony" of all of the atheletes were indicative of this focus. These were games for young people from around the world, to show and to be their best. The success of our organizations are dependent upon a similar level of focus, what are we delivering, how we're delivering and to whom?

3. The importance of legacy -- knowing where we have come from. I was intrigued that Furlong referred to the late Jack Poole (former Chair of VANOC), not just in the opening ceremonies, but in the closing ceremonies as well. Furlong mentioned only his first name in the closing ceremonies, but everyone there seemed to know exactly to whom he was referring. All too often in organizations we look at the future, and often ignore the past as irrelevant. Furlong was saying, I think, that as fun as this had been, it was due to the hard work and patience of people who were not here to share this moment. They have taught us, they have supported us, they have made us what and who we are today. Let us not forget them, and the lessons we learn from them.

I hope that for each of us this week, we have opportunity to thank the people who work with us, to rexamine our focus, and to remember the people who have come before, and made us an our organizations what they are today.