The Project Notebook

Olympics: Eye on the Gold

The emergence of Project Management as a profession is attributed to public works projects in London after World War II. In 2012, we’ll have an opportunity to see London in action again. While the Bejing Olympic Torch was only lit last night, planning for the 2012 Olympics is well underway. In fact, according to the British Olympic Association’s (BOA) web site, the planning goes as far back as 1997 when the idea of an English Olympic bid first emerged. It was eight years later, in 2005, that the location was actually awarded.

The award actually comes after three unsuccessful bids by Birminham and Manchester. The BOA went into high gear and lobbied the voting members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). What they learned is an English bid wouldn’t be acceptable until they returned to the committee table with representation from London. Thus began this long term project, which including lobbying and public relations efforts to let the world know they were serious. Government backing was won in May 2003, but there would still be preparations and a presentation in Singapore in 2005 before the host city contract would be awarded.

The BOA efforts were true representation for the principles “if it is to be, it is up to me” and strategic planning. Too many companies abandon long term planning, citing an inability to see the business and marketplace landscape for more than a year out. Yet having a long term plan, with occasional mid-course corrections, may be a more effective way. They are, in a sense, creating their own future by envisioning it, living it, and making it happen.

I’ve been reading The Answer, the business version of The Secret, and this type of planning falls within their recommendations and principles, but I’ll save this for another week. In the meantime, enjoy watching the 2008 Summer Olympics in Bejing.


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© 2010-2012 Ray W. Frohnhoefer, MBA, PMP, CCP