Saturday, 4 August 2012

Pride and Confidence

I have really enjoyed the first week of the Olympics. One of the most interesting features has been the way that London seems suddenly to have embraced the Games. As any regular readers will know, I spend  quite a lot of time in coffee houses, and there has been a palpable change from cynicism to confidence and even pride in the whole event.

In the weeks running up to the start, most people I spoke with were quite negative about the Games - complaining about the disruption which would be inevitable and worrying about how cliched and embarrassing the opening ceremony would be.

And then... Well the ceremony was, in my opinion, an absolute triumph. The right note was struck - there were plenty of 'wow' moments, there was great music, and the whole things was funny, anarchic, a little confusing and passionate. In fact, very British. The next morning I had so many conversations with people about how great it had been. There was a real sense of relief - but on the back of that was the beginning of confidence that these Games would be good, that London would look good, and that we would be impressive in front of the rest of the world. And on the back of that was pride.

The overwhelming impression now - after the first week - is pride. Every Londoner I speak with expresses this pride - the city looks great and we all seem to be helping visitors and enjoying the games.

This is how it can happen  in business too. The Brits are difficult people to get excited and engaged with an organisation. We tend to be cynical and generally sure that change is bad and that there is no point in trying to hard at anything since it will all end badly.

If we try, however, great things can happen. By staying positive and by constantly encouraging a good leader can bring people along with them. You can encourage engagement - and having engaged you can show your people that trying is alright and that success is possible. Soon, slowly, you will start to notice pride.

So there is the lesson. Keep trying. Keep trying hard. Keep positive. Keep encouraging. Success will come and with it will be pride. Once your organisation is positive and proud - it can be unstop-able!

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