Grete talked about how sport formed her life and business career during the IMD Biennial International Alumni Event this past weekend.
She described her sports background and talked about some of the keys to her achievements, which include a gold medal in women’s cross country skiing in 1985 at the World Championships as well as gold in the women’s biathlon at the World Championships six years later. She segued on to her corporate career at Statkraft and detailed the communications strategy that the company implemented. For Grete, there are many parallels between sport and business.
First, it taught her the value of setting goals and learning from experiences. “There are always ups and downs – victories and setbacks,” she said. “Nobody has ever gone through life without setbacks. What is important is to always keep the final target in sight.”
After Grete quit cross country skiing in 1989, she seized on a new opportunity in the biathlon. “Most of us like security – we feel comfortable in situations we know,” she stated. “But there are many opportunities before us if we are open to new challenges and ideas.”
There are also valuable lessons in terms of teamwork. Even though cross country skiing and the biathlon are individual sports, Grete explained that as part of the national team, everyone was happy for Norway’s success and used each others’ strengths to improve.
“With a team you get feedback on your performance. You can learn from others and get support in tough times. Team is important for individual success – and individual performance important for the team. So remember to wear your ‘uniform’ and get stronger together.”
She concluded by drawing one final correlation between sport and business – passion. “If you have passion, the amount of suffering you can endure is enormous. More importantly, it will bring you happiness and satisfaction.”