Coach’s Circle

It takes teamwork to control energy in an organization. What better place, to find high functioning teams at the apex of competition than at the Olympics? The 2022 Winter Games already have some instructive lessons.

Norway won the gold medal in the mixed team biathlon relay. That’s not a surprise. They have traditionally competed well in the sport that combines cross country skiing with rifle shooting.

Norwegian team’s success, however, came from an unexpected source – the Slovenian team!

At the beginning of the event, one of the Norwegians dropped an “iris aperture” – a viewing slot – on her rifle. A biathlete needs the viewing slot to aim accurately. A Slovenia competitor noticed the attachment was missing from the Norwegian’s rifle and alerted the physiotherapist on her own Slovenian team.

The Slovenian physiotherapist searched for the missing attachment after the race had started and found it in the snow. She returned it to the Norwegians, who in turn, got it to their biathlete in the middle of the race. The Norwegian attached it to her rifle and completed the competition. Her performance helped Norway finish first.

If there were an Olympic gold medal for sportsmanship, the Slovenians would have won it.

What are some lessons for energy managers?  

  1. Competitive athletes are supported by a team. Similarly, an organization will only reach its potential to control energy and carbon emissions with a committed cross-functional team. An energy manager, without a team to back them up won’t get far. 
  1. Small, almost insignificant factors hold the keys to success. A tiny viewing slot on a rifle was all that stood in the way of a gold medal performance. Many small pieces of critical information, including interval meter data, are required for stellar energy management. 
  1. Good will from competitors can help you succeed. The actions of a competitor helped Norway win gold.  When one organization reduces energy costs and carbon emissions, it advances energy management for everyone else. The success of one leads to success for all.  
  1. Kindness wins. The Slovenian team’s actions towards the Norwegians are an inspiration. We all do our best when others help us pick up from our shortcomings and mistakes. Energy management is hard work. Be considerate to yourself and to others. You will achieve more than you can imagine.  

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