As the old song goes ‘the party’s over’ but, ‘is it time to call it a day’? Apart from the curmudgeonly few, most of us will have viewed the Olympics and the Paralympics as inspirational events demonstrating the very best in human endeavour and a magnificent illustration of just what can be achieved with goodwill, ingenuity and a massive amount of hard work. Of course the athletes were the stars of the show but it was a show that, in the words of Lord Coe, was ‘made in Britain’.
Prior to the event, if one was to believe a fraction of the publicity being purveyed by the doom mongers the whole thing was going to be a disaster riddled with incompetence and scarred by bad planning. According to the more dire predictions we were on target to produce an occasion that would live long in the memory for all the wrong reasons. I daresay they are lining up as we speak to undermine the legacy too.
We have learnt many things from the Games. We have learnt that the British public will turn out with enthusiasm to support something that is run according to the highest professional standards. We have learnt that individuals can, in the face of tremendous odds, rise to all sorts of challenges. We have learnt that as a country we can do great things. We have learnt that, when all is said and done, we Brits really do enjoy success whilst simultaneously being able to apply perspective when things don’t work out quite as we would have hoped. The trick going forward will be to apply these lessons.
Business people have, of course, always known that if you create what people want and it is of good quality and sold at the right price people will buy it? Business people face challenges everyday but the vast majority have developed the ability to resist and overcome them come what may. Great things? Business people have been doing them for years providing jobs and income for themselves, their families and their employees. No one ever succeeded in business without understanding the need for a good product, tremendous effort and the requirement for somewhat more than their fair share of resilience. Most have developed a good understanding of success and failure and found a way of living with both.
The Olympics may not have been great for everybody but as a nation I believe we gained a variety of benefits, probably some of which we are yet to be identified. Legacy? I really hope that we build on the success of our athletes and support them and those who aspire to emulate them. I hope too that we recognise the importance of our business folk and the herculean effort many have put into overcoming tremendous odds. Finally, I hope we continue the glow of optimism that was created, if we can replicate that in the economy we will surely to see the benefits feeding through into productivity and job creation.