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Monday, March 5, 2018

Skiing Is Believing

I’m a big fan of the Olympics.  This winter, I watched as a small country claimed 39 total metals, 14 of which were Gold.  Norway has one of the smallest teams in the competition with a population of only about 5 million from which to build a ski team.  Compare that to the 120 plus million people in Russia or the 300 plus population in the US.  How is it that such a small country can pull of winning the Olympics outright?

It might have something to do with the way Norwegians embrace success with a mix of humility, egalitarianism, and basic respect.  These are not qualities that come to mind in the age of athletes who are consumed with personal branding and becoming social media influencers; they are more like the qualities of Montessori kids.

“We believe there is no good explanation or justification for why you have to be a jerk to be a good athlete,” Kjetil Jansrud, the defending Olympic super-G champion, said.  “So, we just won’t have that kind of thing on our team.  You have to get along with everyone.”  The team’s philosophy around cooperation, collaboration, and kindness have resulted in creating a close-knit team who support each other.

This philosophy has helped the team win more medals over the last three Winter Olympics than any other country and serves as a great example of why collaboration, and the ability to bring out the best in others, is more important to an organization’s success (and to an individual’s success) than competitiveness.  At Bay Farm, we emphasize collaboration and teamwork for the same reasons.  We know that preparing our students to work together using joy, purpose, and compassion helps them bring out the best in each other.  Like the Norwegian Ski Team, we are small, but mighty, and together, we increase each other’s capacity for success.