Norway’s Secret to Olympic Dominance: Could it Change How Your Company Works?
Forget what you think you know about Olympic success. Norway, a small Nordic nation, crushed the Winter Olympics medal count two times in a row. They don’t have the biggest budget or even the most mountains – so what’s their secret?
Teamwork and a Surprising Definition of Success
Unlike medal-obsessed countries, Norway prioritizes collaboration. Their athletes spend an incredible 250 days a year together, creating a family atmosphere. Humility, respect, and shared success, not individual glory, are the cornerstone values. It’s about being the best team, not the best individual.
Lessons for Your Workplace
If this works for Olympic athletes, imagine what it could do for your company! Think about it: does your workplace reward selfish behavior and individual goals? That makes achieving true teamwork nearly impossible.
The Norwegian Mindset: Equality, Sharing, and Support
“There are no rookies or champions…we’re all equals.” This mindset, along with open sharing of knowledge, fuels incredible success. The Norwegians understand that winning isn’t the goal. It’s about having a happy, motivated team – that brings about wins!
Are You Ready for a Change?
Norway’s Olympic wins suggest we should redefine success at work. Could team-focused efforts and supportive culture revolutionize your company’s results and overall spirit? It’s a thought worth pondering
There is a statistical approach to almost every aspect of life. If you take the plane often enough, chances are higher that at some point you might lose your luggage. If you look long enough you might see a shooting star. And if you live and work in different countries and thus have different jobs at some point you might get laid off. Ok, is not ONLY statistics. But the more you put yourself out there the more likely something can happen.
It is one thing to be able to rationalize this and see it as an inevitable part of the panoply of human experiences, a little like breaking a bone: nothing you intend to happen, of course – but if it does, well you just handle it. Still, when it DOES happen, at least when it happened to me, I felt entirely unprepared.
Both times it happened, it came completely out of the blue. And both times I felt like a rabid dog kicked out on the street. While I may be slightly biased on the situation, I felt and still feel that, if I had been given a little warning, any indication or sign really to know that I was on some kind of probation, or not meeting the expectations (especially not the unspoken ones, of which there are aplenty it seems), I would have fought tooth and nail to improve. I did not get the chance. So I was shocked and confused.
And it was not the fear and anxiety that comes with the fact that I was the sole breadwinner of the family (with 2 small children), not the immediate mental countdown that gave me an almost to-the-hour point of no return where savings would run out and bills could not be paid anymore. It was not even the array of mental tricks, courtesy of over 20 years of coaching, that got triggered (anything from „everything happens for a reason“ to „try to see the positive in every situation“) and made me feel powerless. What got to me, what truly got to me, was how little the people who let me go cared. Especially not the ones that go under the umbrella of „HR“. Human relations….but does human not also mean caring? At least a little? Some form of empathy maybe?
Maybe I got unlucky, and the experience is normally different. But when I asked around, a sad reality emerged. It reminded me a little about the (non-)conversations around miscarriage, or abuse. It seems like you are the only one this happened to, and so you do not say anything, you feel ashamed, guilty, and weak – but once you address it, other people start speaking up and saying: it happened to me too, and it was not ok how it happened.
It is NOT ok to just call someone in the office and tell him/her to return the laptop and phone and leave the premises within the next 10 minutes (and forbidding you to even say goodbye to your colleagues).
It is not ok to call someone via Teams from the car (!) to fire them and then ask the other colleague present on the call: „You finish with this, I have other stuff to do“.
Have we gone so far into the consumer mindset that we dispose of employees like old clothes or toys? Or are we just so incapable of dealing with the emotions that come with the knowledge that you are potentially bringing a person and their family to the brink of financial existence that we shut all emotions off? Or do we truly not care no more?
Call me weird, but I think if there is one person, at least, that should care, it is the HR person. I remember sitting in that room and looking that person in the eye. And she stared right through me. I was still hoping later for at least a hushed „I am sorry“ or maybe a message of „Are you ok?“. Nothing. Sign this paper. Leave. That´s all folks. Next item on today`s list?
There should be more. If we have truly lost the ability to care, to understand that people are people and not just resources, then there is something wrong. That people want to do their best and it is your job in HR to help them do that. Or is it like in the comic, that the HR stands for humor?
The beauty and curse of social media are that you tend to come across people from your past, now and then. So here and there the face of that HR person tends to show up in my feed. And every time I see her profile pop up in a post I still feel the ghost of that feeling of shock. Irony maybe, her tagline is that she wants to bring the „human back in HR“. So maybe even she knows that HR how we do it sometimes, and how she did it, is a bad joke. Maybe I will ask her one day.
When a baby is born, many things happen between the moment of birth and adulthood. At birth, the child is solely dependent on the mother for nursing, diaper change, feeding, soothing and discipline. In adulthood, society expects the individual to be productive for themselves and the greater good.
Similarly, every business goes through a distinct growth process from inception to listing on the stock exchange, a buyout or a wind-down. It is a period characterized by several elements through which, a business owner must determine if their business is
b) experiencing retarded growth
c) developing as a normal business would or
d) undergoing exponential growth, as would be the case of some in Silicon Valley.
We explore five of these elements in this article.
No matter how a business starts, the owners must put in sweat capital. Late nights and long days of crafting vision boards, strategies, mission statements, selling, marketing, hiring, firing, negotiating, setting up presentations and so much more are the order of the day for any startup.
While this grinding is expected in the initial years of business, business owners who find themselves continuously carrying the burden of the operations without team members must question their business practices and models.
● create employment and growth opportunities for staff members
● engage their growing team members in beneficial training programs and expand their scope of responsibility through delegation
● relieve the owners from directly performing menial tasks and put them in roles that demand leadership and management skills to facilitate company growth
Processes are the ultimate tool for managers. They exist to keep the company stable and reliable. Without established processes, a business will struggle to develop and implement codes of conduct. Also, standards of operation in multiple locations and consistency of service will be a challenge.
Processes help to instil confidence in customer service, structure people growth and development and scale solutions provided.
3. Technology adoption
A quick scan in the business environment will reveal how business efficiency improves through the adoption of technology. No matter the industry, new heights of success are unattainable if people don’t employ better working methods.
For example, a landscaping business owner who relies on his slasher and secateurs will serve fewer clients compared with one who has a lawnmower and electric pruning shears. In a supermarket or grocery store equipped with QR code readers, stock management and sales functions will be better handled compared to a store that works with a cash register only.
Business growth is enabled by technology adoption when the users, staff and clients, are included in the adoption process. When new technology has high acceptability rates, the change process is better because the resistance is lower.
4. Business independence
Business independence is efficient operationalisation of a business without the direct influence of the owner or leader. Often, when people are setting out to start their business, part of the vision is to be free and have an enterprise runs without them being present. The internet is awash with people who flaunt the free-to-travel, free-to-work from anywhere kind of lifestyle. That’s not the independence we are referring.
The bedrock of business independence is the establishment of culture, processes and trust. Without these, globetrotting C-suite managers and entrepreneurs would be curtailed in their endeavours to grow the business. Culture structures the relationships and modalities of work in the enterprise. Processes help to instil confidence in customer service, structure people and business growth and development. Trust, as alluded to in the article, Top 5 Adjustments in 2021, is the new form of currency that allows clients and staff to depend on you and build commitment.
Overall, if your business is still depending on your daily presence for efficiency, there is no business growth.
A growing business is a scalable business. It means it can have multiple locations, including virtual. It may also mean that the enterprise can be franchised or remodelled to have several outlets. Law firms start with small square footage to occupy multiple floors in a building. Well-managed clinics or hospitals spread through communities in their growth curve and hotels open in cities and countries globally, with standardised operations and processes.
Scalability is embedded in the business model and visioning process during inception but is actualised through daily operations and effective management.
Scalable businesses also take time to build because of the diversity of people and cultures within which they operate.
With every periodic review of the enterprise, factors like revenue, profits, financial ratios, customer satisfaction rates, staff turnover, and other metrics, every business owner must check their growth against these five elements before declaring that the business is growing.