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LEADERSHIP IS A PROCESS OF SOCIAL INFLUENCE, WHICH MAXIMISES THE EFFORTS OF OTHERS TOWARDS THE ACHIEVEMENT OF A SHARED GOAL.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Canada appears to have fallen far short of its goal of "Owning the Podium" at the Vancouver Olympics. How can leaders know the difference between a "stretch" goal that inspires people to reach new heights and an unattainable goal that winds up demoralising people?
Canada is hardly flopping in the Olympics. While their goal to "Own the Podium" is ambitious, there is nothing wrong with having high expectations. "Stretch goals" are obtainable if all the ingredients of success are present: careful planning, motivation, and a little luck. Even then, the individual or team still needs to make that giant leap to glory.
Demoralisation comes from feeling fear and doubt. It does not come from having high goals. Limitations only have power when one believes in the fears that give them life. Because of the Canadian team's high goals and their desire to not just win, but win big, many amazing things have happened that demonstrate the team's resolve.
Just a couple of days into these Olympics, Alexandre Bilodeau won Canada's first gold medal in freestyle skiing. The Canadian men's hockey team made it to the semi-final round after an overwhelming victory against the Russians. Joanie Rochette, just days after her mother's death, gave a courageous figure skating performance in which every second was just as powerful, emotional, and inspirational as the last.
These moments are what the games will be remembered for. Canada might not have achieved their desired medal count, but they have sought excellence, and are now in a different realm because of it. The Canadians are close to achieving the highest amount of gold medals they have ever achieved in a single Winter Olympic Games. If this is the result of having goals that are out of reach, then that giant leap is always worth it.