Have you watched the Olympics? If so, you have seen America’s newest sweetheart, Missy Franklin, a hundred times. She won five medals (four were gold). You also know who Rebecca Soni is; she won three medals (two were gold). Dana Vollmer won three medals (all gold) and Allison Schmitt won five medals (three were gold). Missy, Rebecca, Dana and Allison are called the “smiley girls” and why not? Their baggage will be loaded down with sixteen medals when they fly home. Hmmm…checked or carry-on?
If you were watching on Saturday night (8/4), you saw the “smiley girls” set a world record in the 4X100 Medley Relay. The medal ceremony was great. After receiving their gold medals, they all stood with hand over heart, singing our national anthem as the stars and stripes were raised. Yeah, I got misty eyed. I always do.
Everyone knows who the “smiley girls” are, but who is Rachel Bootsma? Rachel is a backstroke specialist from Eden Prairie, Minnesota. She failed to qualify for the finals of her one individual event, the 100m backstroke. It was her only chance for the medal stand. Breeja Larson, a breaststroke specialist, also missed the medal stand, as did Claire Donahue (butterfly). Jessica Hardy, a freestyle specialist, got a 4x100m relay bronze medal, but missed out in her two individual events and did not get to sing the anthem with hand over heart.
Still, however, Rachel, Breeja, Claire and Jessica are all bringing a gold medal home. They didn’t get to stand and sing while the flag was raised, but they are bringing home gold anyway. Why? Because unseen and unlauded, Rachel, Breeja, Claire and Jessica swam the qualifying heat of the 4×100 Medley Relay on Friday night that set up the “smiley girls” to win the gold in the finals on Saturday night. Missy, Rebecca, Dana and Allison got their glory and gold on the medal stand. Rachel, Breeja, Claire and Jessica got their gold in a no-tv coverage backroom ceremony that only their teammates and parents knew about.
If your organization, large or small, is winning and setting records, you have both medal stand performers and backroom performers. A wise leader makes sure they are all recognized, appreciated and rewarded. Why don’t you take a few minutes today to go find a Rachel, Breeja, Claire or Jessica and thank them for putting you on the medal stand? You wouldn’t have got there without them.
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© Copyright 2012 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company.
"The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."
Kouzes & Posner
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