At the Olympic Games we all play to WIN

I am working at the London 2012 Olympic Games from July 21-August 14 as a senior consultant for iLUKA, one of the world’s leading Olympic marketing agencies. The following post contains observations of working life at the Olympics as it relates to the highs and lows we all experience in our careers.

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August 3, 2012 – Seven Days In: Blisters

The peaks and valleys of the working experience on an Olympic Games are similar to those in any career – except in a compressed time and with more blisters! It is Day 7 at the London 2012 Games: blisters and the odd bit of burnout are the order of the day for those working hard behind the scenes, including those working with sponsors, broadcasters and hundreds of others who help make the Games happen and enable them to be seen across the globe.

(Working at the Games – no matter what you are doing – requires a LOT of walking! Any sort of heels are abandoned early, flats reign and blister plasters are a hot seller!)

iLUKA, the company I am working with, has nearly 1,000 people working on the Games. But a core group of about 60 Games’ experts, some of whom are now marking their 12th Olympic Games, began working seven years ago on the marketing strategies, hospitality plans and complex logistics that make the tickets, accommodations, transportation and hosting run like clockwork during the Games.

Feats that iLUKA has achieved to date include the concept, design, planning and ultimately the “bump in” (loading in and setup) of The Olympic Journey sponsored by BP – a fabulous exhibit that tells the Olympic Games story – and a whole new lounge at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. ( Super human accomplishments are going on at the Olympics on more than the field of play!

For example, tickets get delivered personally in the middle of the night so a young family can make it to an event the next day; last minute access is arranged for a VIP; meals appear from a kitchen that is technically closed.

So how does a team stand up to the intensity, peaks and valleys of an Olympic experience? The answer is: Much like in any other work situation except that the timeline is compressed and the deadlines are not movable. If you mess up at the Games, there’s little to no time for recovery.

The intensity of the experience also will strip people down to who they really are very quickly and those hiring, know this, and screen accordingly. Not only must the person have experience, he or she also must have a compatible personality as well as superb stamina, perseverance and commitment.

My observation is that those who succeed have the ability to put their head down drive toward completion; put the chaos swirling about them in perspective; avoid getting drawn into the ever-present “politics” of the situation, and do whatever it takes to ensure the job gets done.

In my next post, I will provide more perspective on what it’s like to work at the Games’ and how important attitude is when it comes to playing on an organization’s team.

If you aspire to this level of achievement and performance in your career but you need some help developing the skills and qualities to get there, contact me at I will return your email promptly – on August 15!