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Sunday, May 09, 2010

Dedication and Commitment: What if They Existed on a Project or the Workplace?

I had an opportunity to listen to Michael Phelps this week in Baltimore at a convention. He shared factors leading to his success. The one that intrigued me the most was when he mentioned that he worked with his coach following his guidance and advice, and for five full years he practiced every single day, not a single day off. When you think about it that is really something. For a 13 year old to practice every single day for four hours between workouts and being soaked in the pool, add to it his school hours, homework, family life and hanging out with friends, until he is 18. That is effective time utilization to say the least.

Michael had a clear vision, he wanted to have gold medals around his neck, and he wanted to hear the national anthem of his country being broadcast across the world while he receives the medal. His objective was clear, the path was direct and he needed to execute. His execution would not be possible without guidance. Michael understood that his coach is his guidance, he followed his leader in every foot step. They practiced together, ate together, had fun together, worked together, persevered together, talked together, and did everything together. Michael was committed and so was his coach, and together they had a winning team. Michael shadowed his leader, to become a leader. I consider Michael a leader, he is the world leader in swimming, and his coach is even a greater leader as he developed a leader out of Michael.

There are many beautiful lessons for project teams, volunteer teams, young people, experienced people and almost everyone in the few experiences that Michael Phelps shared on Tuesday. I will list some below,

1. Great leaders make leaders.
2. Leaders need mentors and coaches.
3. A vision is created by a leader, it is the spark that starts the passion.
4. A success story is created by a team, turning the spark into a wild fire.
5. A coach is more than just a teacher, a coach is a partner.
6. Commitment and dedication are not for anyone, they are invaluable and only the patient will realize the reward.
7. Leaders persevere and steadfast.
8. Humility and Humbleness can not be absent for dedication and commitment to flourish.

Imagine applying all of this on your ailing project, now add to it a solid methodology. With confidence, you can expect your project to get back on track sooner than you thought.