I am intently watching the Olympics this year and it occurred to me, these brave and strong young people represent a business, the business of the Olympics and their country. Many even go through training on how to behave while representing their country. While watching the media hype around the games, one thing stood out: if there were going to be any remarks or behavior that weren't humble, it usually came from a man, not a woman.
Now granted, the Olympics are hyper-competitive, more so than most businesses. So in such a competitive atmosphere, perhaps men are more self-focused than women. Here are just a few examples I've seen of unprofessional behavior among male athletes in Olympics past and present:
On the other hand, a few positive things I noticed from the female athletes:
So, how does this relate to any business? Are women more humble than men? Sure seems like it in the Olympics. It also could just be that there are more male athletes in the Olympics so it's a game of numbers. But these "business" men and women also have to be aware of what they might get out of it at the end of all of this: a great sponsorship. We all witnessed what happened to many of Tiger's sponsorship deals when he seemed disingenuous.
Maybe in your business you need someone who is completely self-focused and self-motivated, and that's ok. You just need to ask yourself--are you comfortable with the people that represent you and your company's values? When you look at men and women in your organization are there clear differences in how they represent your company? If so, are the differences what you'd want them to be? Maybe so, but it might be worth a look.
Now before I get blasted by readers, women are not immune to bad behavior in these Olympic games, as noted by the shameful incident when our own figure skaters Tonya Harding had Nancy Kerrigan attacked. And on a positive note, gold medalist snow boarder Shaun White is a gracious, charitable man who is out to give his sport a great name. So it's not a sweeping generalization, just food for thought and an opportunity to relate these exciting Winter games to your own business like I do at my company VerticalResponse.
Hey, I think Bode Miller is a great skier and really fun to watch. I just wonder, how many of you want him on your team, no matter how great he is? It's just something to think about for your business.