The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, which closed on Monday, was a huge success. On top of the sporting action, some highlights: over 1.5 million tickets sold; an integrated para-sports programme; record streaming of the action on the BBC website; a carbon-neutral Games; and Ozzy Osbourne making a surprise appearance with Black Sabbath at the closing ceremony!
As part of my work with SportsAid, a charity which supports high-potential young athletes, I spent a great day in Birmingham. The city was buzzing, with huge, friendly crowds in the city centre, as well as at each of the venues. Given the enthusiasm of the volunteers, it was clear that the city of Birmingham had taken the Games to its heart, and there is now talk of a Birmingham Olympics 2036 bid.
And yet there is something that concerns me. Following the conclusion of the Games, politicians, sports administrators and newspaper columnists are all talking about the Games’ legacy. The Games will not be a success, they argue, unless it leads to higher levels of participation in sport, both in Birmingham and across the country, and improve the lives of people in a city with some of the most deprived communities in the UK.
The bar is too high. You cannot create a lasting legacy with a one-off sporting event – no matter how magnificent it might be.
It’s the same with business. You won’t get transformational innovation, amazing customer service, the most capable sales teams or turbo-charged operational productivity with a single event or programme. Excellence is a process, not a workshop. It takes ongoing focus, action, investment and follow-through to create real legacies and lasting results.
What’s the legacy that you’re trying to deliver? And, over the next few years, what are the consistent, disciplined and coherent set of actions you’re focused on to make it happen?
Off The Record: Paranoid by Black Sabbath
I need someone to show me
The things in life that I can’t find
I can’t see the things that make
I must be blind