What IT consultants can learn from the Olympics and Paralympics?


IT industry leaders can glean some transformative lessons from the Olympics and Paralympics. They are captivating sporting events with a lot of entertaining content and inspiration. If you take a close look at the success stories of athletes, you will learn some things you can apply in your business.

How athletes compete at the Olympics and Paralympics can be likened to the type of competition in the business world. So, entrepreneurs have a lot to learn from successful athletes. Knowing how they compete and win medals can help you devise a proven winning strategy for your business and clients.

What can IT consultants learn from the premier sporting events?

Using the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics as the reference, let’s look at some transformative lessons:

Lesson one: success don’t come easy – it takes time

Outstanding achievements take time. The phrase “it takes time” can be as long as a decade or more in the business world. However, business leaders can learn an important lesson from the Olympics and Paralympics in this regard. Athletes invest a lot of time training. It took some of them many years to win their first gold medal.

An inspiring story of Tom Daley drives home this point. He won the gold medal 13 years after his Olympic debut. From Beijing 2008, he has been working hard to win the Olympic gold. But it was never easy for him due to severe competition. However, on 26 July 2021, in the Tokyo Aquatics Center, he finally won the gold medal.

“To finally have this medal… I have been diving for 20 years. It is my fourth Olympic Games…” – says Daley.

Lesson two: never give up

Athletes show consistency and commitment even in the face of failure. Olympics and Paralympics champions are known to have the quality of defying unfavorable circumstances to reach their goals. They do not give up easily. In the tech industry, challenges abound. Given the fierce competition and constant evolution in the business landscape, leaders and companies tend to melt in the face of setbacks. However, never giving up is one of the most valuable lessons to learn from the Olympics and Paralympics.

For example, Sifan Hassan refused to give up after a dramatic fall during the 1500m heat. After the fall she was literally at the back. Giving up would have meant not qualifying for the Olympic final. Even though it remained 300 meters to the finish line, she picked herself up. She moved from last to the first position in 62 seconds – thereby qualifying for the finals. She won a bronze medal in the finals plus two golds in the 500m and 1000m competitions.

Lesson three: collaboration is essential in the tech industry

Two athletes made a decision from which IT consultants can learn the need for collaboration in the tech world. Tamberi, an Italian, and Barshim of Qatar are both friends and rivals in sports. Both competed in the Olympic high jump event and something interesting happened. They got equal scores and identical paths to top place.

Instead of continuing with a jump-off, they decided to share the gold. Both made history and celebrated – even though they were rivals. Working with other companies can produce great results that are impossible when you see them as rivals only.

Lesson four: values are still important

At the Olympics and Paralympics, teams thrive on a positive culture that promotes good vibes and playing to enhance one another’s strengths. Having the collective interest of the team as the major driving force enhances performance. It is not about talent only, values are vital and play a leading role in Olympics competitions.

IT consultants can learn the power of values and culture when it comes to harnessing the potentials of organizations. A company filled with people of great skills and talent but without the collective interest of the organization at heart will underperform. Values are still essential in building successful tech companies.

Lesson five: leadership is key

Champions at the Olympics and Paralympics are products of great leadership. Coaches and mentors are behind the successes of gold medalists. In the same way, it takes great leadership to build a successful IT company. Every team or organization needs a leader with skill and responsibility to motivate everyone to reach their common goals – especially when times are tough.

It takes a good leader to create a conducive work environment where every employee can work with necessary support, constructive feedback, and encouragement. IT consultants should understand that just like Olympians can not do well without leadership, companies without good leadership will also underutilize their talents and eventually go out of business in extreme cases.

Lesson six: perseverance and commitment

Athletes show undying perseverance and commitment when training for the competitions. Successful athletes leverage mental toughness and consistent commitment to stay relevant. For instance, Michael Phelps trained about 7 hours per day, 7 days a week, for years. Did you know that American athletes train full-time at the U.S. Olympic Training Facility located in Colorado Springs, CO? They leave their families to dedicate themselves to the Olympic course.

Given the fierce competition and challenges in the IT world, every business that wants to stand the test of time must imbibe the culture of perseverance and commitment.

Lesson seven: keep pressing to reach new goals

Olympians set new higher goals after big wins. They keep striving to break & set records. This explains why some of them remain relevant for many years before retiring. Industry leaders have a lesson to glean from this. Challenge yourself and clients to continually set new goals. Setting specific and realistic goals will enable you to avoid complacency. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, keep striving to reach new goals.


IT consultants can learn many lessons from the Olympics and Paralympics. These lessons can be used by consulting firms to help companies to keep up with tech trends and adopt ideologies necessary for massive business growth.