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Great Expectations

This whole week I’ve been glued to the television at night, watching the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials.

I have taken interest in the trials and Olympics virtually my whole life. Among my idols are Mark Spitz, Tracy Caulkins and Dara Torres. I could hardly contain myself last year when Canadian Emily Overholt came from Lane 8 in the 400 free at the Pan Am games to win the event. I was there.  I saw it live.  In fact, I lost my mind, it was so cool.

Once a swimmer, always a swimmer.

Swimming brings with it a good sort of drama. Mostly. There are fingernail finishes that excite the public and generate interest. People achieve their personal bests. Some get to go to the Olympics. Family and friends and countless tweeps are behind them.

Unlike people active in sports that get a lot of airtime, most swimmers are amateurs when it comes to the after win interviews. They’re mostly giddy, all smiles, excited for their futures, but not very articulate. To be honest, their gurgling joy is kind of refreshing. After watching a few of these interviews though I want to send some of them the scene from Bull Durham where Kevin Costner tries to teach clichés to Tim Robbins.

And then there are some who will experience that “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” moment, which whenever I hear that expression I think of this:

Imagine what would happen if every workplace could have some sort of culmination that led to such an experience. . . .the best that accounts receivable could offer, the ultimate sales pitch, a winning cross-functional team. People would have a sense of purpose in their work; they could perfect what they do in the routines they complete. They would make the best of their time at work; getting into shape. They’d embrace technology. They’d seek clarity. They’d take risks. There’d be clearer cycles.

Workplaces would have coaches, and competition. Employees would learn sportsmanship, and develop positive rivalry. They would be efficient. They would learn from instant replay.

When they didn’t succeed, they would try again. Like this year’s trials, you’d have a people of all sorts of age groups and experiences. They’re be rookies and comebacks.

Everyone needs their moment, and teams need to achieve things together.

Time to hit the pool.

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