July 02, 2010 Features & Images » Feature Story

The Clarion Call 

What comes after the 2010 Games?


After the phantasmagoria of the Olympic Games no one can argue that Whistler is not on top of the world right now. We just finished hosting the world's second largest event and we nailed it!

The numbers speak for themselves: 3.5 billion worldwide television viewers are estimated to have tuned into the Games during approximately 24,000 hours of television coverage, plus 6,000 hours of coverage worldwide on mobile platforms and 78 million unique visitors to the Vancouver 2010 website. Numbers which crush previous Winter Games bests, and in the case of web numbers even quadrupling the numbers from the Beijing Summer Games - which are themselves about 10 times the size of the Winter Games. We've achieved our goal and lived the dream.

Now what do we do? The cold bucket of water in the face that is Whistler's post-Games reality is as certain as the alarm clock on Monday morning. And we can't hit the snooze button.


The New Normal

Facing the day is a little less appealing when you know cool recessionary winds are still blowing and forecasting what the post-Olympic order will be is uncertain. In fact, nothing is certain - loonies soaring like eagles, bulls and bears going mad and erupting volcanoes is the new normal, and trying to forecast trends is as reliable as a psychic reading. But creating a new template by which to understand the new normal might be just what Whistler needs.

Two such templates can be found in the pages of Jim Collins's How the Mighty Fall and Rosabeth Moss Kanter's Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin and End . Both ask the critical questions of what is to be learned by studying the contrast between success and failure - and how can we prevent or avoid failure and continue on the path to success.

There are several common denominators of failure in both books. Some examples include hubris born of success, failure to maintain the discipline that helped turn winning into a habit, denial of threats and problems and the blaming of external factors for setbacks rather than accepting responsibility.

Decline is likely to follow when business views success as an entitlement. This pomposity distracts us from continually striving to understand why we're successful and under what circumstances our practices might need to change to continue success.

The common factors that characterize success are a belief in people and their power to make a difference. Winners focus on small wins and things that can be controlled, they have a network of resources which makes it easier to attract investors, talent, customers and media attention, as well as opinion leaders to support political goodwill. Finally, winners generate optimism by aiming high and expecting to hit their targets.

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