Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Nightmare That is Rio

If your house is anything like my house, formerly strict screen time rules have been replaced with non-stop Olympics coverage as of late. You watched the opening ceremonies with glee, you’ve mapped out when each of your favorite events will be taking place, and you know exactly who you’re rooting for and when.

Because there is just something about the Olympic games that surges excitement through us all.

It’s fun, right? Stepping back from the insanity that is the 2016 election season, and having something to feel pride in again—rooting for Team USA (or for our non-US friends, your own country's team) right alongside your neighbors, co-workers, and friends. Because Olympic games have a way of uniting us; giving us one common team to cheer for.

So, of course, you’ve also seen some of the less than positive headlines surrounding this year’s Olympic games… or at least, the headlines surrounding Rio:

Let’s be honest; nothing has painted the Rio Olympics in any sort of pristine or expertly executed light. The general consensus by athletes and the media alike is that the setting for this year’s Olympic games is, excuse my language, quite literally a crap-show.

So what happened? Well, most reports lend to the belief that the country simply bit off more than they could chew. They never had the funds or infrastructure to take on an event of this caliber, but they did it anyway, hoping that by doing so they would see a boost in tourism for years to come.
Obviously, with the headlines being what they are, the opposite is more likely to be true.

So what does this all have to do with you? I do have a point, I promise! And that point is this: never overpromise. Never overcommit. Never take on more than you can chew as a company.

Because a bad reputation resulting from undelivered promises and low quality production can have devastating consequences, not only on your ability to appeal to new clients, but also on your ability to woo top-tier talent in hiring.

What we’re seeing happening with Rio right now is a perfect reflection of what can happen when a company doesn’t follow through on promises they’ve made to their clients and employees, or when the desire for bigger and better leads a company to make commitments they can’t possibly live up to. You might go into it thinking that the effort is all that matters—that once you get people in the door, or break ground on a new project you can’t possibly see all the way through, the momentum from those feats will be enough to propel your company further forward.

The truth, unfortunately, is that your company is far more likely to face the same fate as Rio—the effects of a bad reputation will overshadow any good you may have hoped to gain.  The fact is that a leading reason small companies fail is due to premature scaling (http://www.geekwire.com/2011/number-reason-startups-fail-premature-scaling/).

Don’t let that happen to you. In business, reputation is everything. And being able to fulfill the promises you make to your employees upon hiring, and your clients upon beginning business together, will play a huge role in the types of talent you’re able to attract in the future.

Because no one wants to work for a company with a reputation like Rio.

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