In the 2005 10th Quadrennial National Games held in Nanjing, Capital of Jiangsu Province, the Jiangsu Teams were motivated to earn honor for the people of Jiangsu. The teams worked diligently. The athletes, fit and well trained, competed to the best of their abilities.
To everyone’s surprise, they exceeded expectations, ranking first when the final results were in. This result far surpassed the Administration’s organizational goal to rank among the top three nationally. Everyone celebrated, of course, but after the celebration ceremony, the athletes and coaches seemed to lose momentum.
Expectations are your assessment of what is possible for you. Group expectations aggregate to Organizational Culture. How could we continue to set records and exceed what our leaders, coaches, teams and athletes believed possible? With this challenge in mind, three senior-level administrators, including JSA Leader Yin Baolin, attended an “Investment in Excellence” public seminar hosted by The Pacific Institute, China. There the Administration learned to see the challenge in a new way. Although the Jiangsu Sports Teams had won the National Games Championship, the group’s self-image had not caught up. Was its champion status an accident? Was it a matter of chance? Champions, yes! But they did not see themselves as champions forever.
This meant they had no idea how to sustain their success. They had leveled off on a plateau and lost the energy needed to excel and exceed their prior achievements. How do you change this group self-image? How do you change the culture to one of continuous improvement and record-setting achievements? Understanding that each person needed to change his personal thinking, leadership chose to introduce and roll out “Investment in Excellence” to help everyone – leaders, coaches and athletes alike – to set new goals, change their self-images, and gain the drive needed to sustain success and continue to set and break records.
In 2008, top athletes from around the world gathered in Beijing for the Beijing Olympic Games. Athletes and coaches of the China National Olympic Team faced overwhelming expectations to earn honor before the entire world for China and Chinese people. During the preparation phase, Jiangsu coaches and athletes as well as other team members, experienced extreme stress.