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Lessons from the fastest man in the world

Danny Ruspandini - Impact Labs Australia
Danny R.

"Leader" doesn't necessarily mean "best".

In August 2021 I had the honour of zoom-meeting one of my idols - the legendary sprinter Michael Johnson, who is the first and only man to win gold in the 200m and 400m in a single olympics (if you're interested, two women have done the same).

Michael Johnson is now a successful business owner managing over 60 people, and he shared some of the lessons learned as an athlete that he's translated to his business.

My notebook was jammed, I had so many takeaways - but this was the one that stood out to me:

"Someone will always win gold."

His point was that just because there is a "market leader" in your industry, that doesn't necessarily mean they are the gold standard that can't be matched.

A hypothetical olympic final

Records become more fragile as athletes become more capable, and we're getting used to seeing world records topple at the olympics.

But the world record is an entirely different measure to who wins the race.

Pick any sprint from the Tokyo olympics, and imagine the top 10 sprinters were all in hotel quarantine when the final was being run.

A different set of sprinters (assuming there were enough!) would have qualified for the final... probably not the 10 fastest, but another 10.

The record is now less likely to fall… but someone would still have won gold.

I'm not overly competitive when it comes to business, but it helps to look through a lens like this because it highlights that there are always opportunities to improve and potentially dominate a market.

Un-ramble please

Some businesses dominate simply because their offerings are in demand.

The opportunities for us might be in aligning more clearly with out customers values, or providing superior customer service.

Leader doesn't necessarily mean best.

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