Swim Team Business:

Wendy Vonderhaar

CEO

Monday, August 3, 2015

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A few weekends ago, my daughter competed in the Ohio Age Group Swimming State Championship Meet at my alma mater, Miami University. She swims for the Northern Kentucky Clippers, which is sanctioned as an Ohio team despite being located in Northern Kentucky. I’m proud to report that the Clippers won the state meet and beat out several teams that are over twice their size. It was an exciting event to be a part of – even as a parent. The energy, excitement and enthusiasm have stuck with me these past few weeks, and I can’t help but reflect on the things we can learn in business from an underdog swim team and, quite frankly, the sport of swimming. I narrowed it down to my top three:

1. Don’t underestimate the power of team

Our team is smaller than most, but has developed a strong, positive culture over the years that has united the swimmers, coaches and parents. Not an easy task, but very powerful. On the final night of the meet, the Clipper swimmers were dropping incredible amounts of time, touching out other swimmers and coming from 8th place to win. It's a lot easier to be great when you have the support of teammates, the parent section cheering for you and are a part of something bigger – a group of people with a clear goal striving for greatness. Does your business’ culture facilitate strong teamwork that can help your organization overcome great obstacles and achieve greatness?

2. You need more than superstars

Yes, they are important, however, the forty kids that score a few points are just as important as the ten that score a lot of points. We simply would not have won the meet without them. The Clipper coaches have done a great job of elevating the performance level of all swimmers, not just those at the top of the heap. Let’s face it. Superstars are going to perform regardless of their coach. The great coaches are those that can take the average athlete and help them perform beyond what’s expected. Are you focusing too much time on the superstars and not enough time on everyone else?

3. You have to put in the time

Talent. Potential. Two of the most overused terms in sports. There is no substitute for hard work, which becomes more obvious over time. People can rely on talent, but it will only take you so far. 90 percent of the time, lack of talent can be overcome by hard work and pure desire. Are you doing what it takes to be successful or just enough to get by?

Are you doing the right things to answer ‘yes’ to these questions? What do you think determines a champion business and how do you get there? Let us know on Twitter via @IntrinzicSays.