Create An Environment of Support And Accountability

We encourage each other. It’s what teammates do.
— Bashir Abdi, Bronze medalist 2020 Tokoyo Olympics

I saw many inspiring moments while watching the Olympics this year. One moment that stood out above them all came at the end of the men’s marathon race.

Eliud Kipchoge ran the perfect marathon with poise and a smile.  Three men battled for the two remaining medals of silver and bronze more than one minute behind Eliud.

I have run many races myself, including marathons and ultra-marathons. I know what it feels like when I have nothing left and when I can no longer pull out some more speed to get ahead of that competitor next to me.  Watching the marathon, I saw Bashir Abdi in that situation I have felt before.  He was on empty, and I believed he would not be able to medal. He was in the late-race collapse of legs and will.

And then I saw something amazing.

Abdi Nageeye from the Netherlands slowed and kept urging Bashir to not give up. While looking over his shoulder, he kept encouraging Bashir to give it his all.

With pain on his face, Bashir was pulled by his friend’s words and was able to pass the other competitor from Kenya. He finished the race with a grimace, a bronze medal, and finally, a smile. He gave a long embrace of thanks to Abdi Nageeye.

Watching this made me think of how difficult it can be to bring creative projects across the finish line. One of the greatest jobs we have as leaders is to create an environment of support and accountability where teammates reach out and help each other across the finish lines of success.

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,


Alan Willett

Photo by Lance Grandahl on Unsplash

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