In the main Beacon article this month, I write about the concept of “fingerprints,” which is a topic we integrate into our work all the time at The Latimer Group. Every group, team or organization needs to be thinking about what they will leave behind after their work is done. Our fingerprints are the lasting impressions that everyone will remember about us, long after we are gone.
I’m spending a lot of time this summer with the athletes on the 2012 US Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Teams. The Olympic Games begin on July 27, and the Paralympic Games will begin 33 days later. I’ve been working with the Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Program for eight years now, and a big part of our success has been a significant increase in the resources available to the team. We have a very different program now than we did eight years ago.
As we have managed our growth, I have regularly asked our sailors to think about their own fingerprints, and what the lasting impressions of the US Sailing Team will be. Making conscious decisions on what your organization’s fingerprints will be is an important part of determining your brand.
These are the fingerprints I am always telling the team they need to remember:
- Preparation: Our team must always arrive prepared and ready to perform.
- Collaboration: Our team must always collaborate and work well together. When we do this, our performance will exceed the sum of the parts.
- Respect: Our team members must always treat teammates, competitors, officials, supporters and everyone else with respect. Our team is in the public eye, and we can never forget that we are representing the USA when we compete.
- Gratitude: Our team needs the support of others to succeed, and whenever you need to gather support from others, you need to express appropriate gratitude. The people who support you should always feel appreciated.
- Performance: Our team needs to succeed on the water, and we can never forget that the importance of bottom line results. Above all else, people will always remember how you actually performed.
Our team does a good job with these fingerprints, but we can always be better. I encourage our athletes to think about these fingerprints all the time, and I encourage you to do the same. Reflect on your own fingerprints and think about the lasting impressions you and your organization leave behind.
The Olympic Games begin in 23 days as of this writing. The clock is ticking, and the US Sailing Team will be ready to go fully aware that perception does indeed shape reality.
[You can follow along with the progress and results of the US Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Teams as they compete in the Games later this summer. Look for “US Sailing Team” on Facebook and Twitter, and at Olympics.ussailing.org.]
Dean M. Brenner
President, The Latimer Group
Chairman and Team Leader, US Olympic Sailing Team
July 4, 2012)
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