>Control the controllables

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Amy Williams with Olympic Gold Medal and SGBA Members Geof Steward and Bob Francis


In business there are many things that can upset the equilibrium of a company and that will include both internal and external events. Some of these such as the economy, competitors and even clients we can have very little control over. Our focus must remain on the things we do have control over. In other words “Control the Controllables.”


These words were said by Amy Williams, Gold Medal Winner at the Vancouver winter Olympics 2010 in the Skeleton event. For the uninitiated the skeleton event is sliding down a an icy hill at up to 90 mph on a tea tray head first!


To get the gold medal Amy said that she had to control the controllables and make tiny changes to help her improve. This included the controversial design of her helmet, down to her body temperature prior to the start of the event. Research had shown that her body performed best at slightly above normal body temperature so Amy wore a thermal wrap (like we see marathon runners wearing after they have completed their run) under her jacket for the period immediately before the start. Research had also shown that muscles recover more effectively if cooled down rapidly after her event. This required Amy to immerse herself in freezing water for a number of minutes after each race. Amy acted on all of the research and guidance provided and the results spoke for themselves!

The lesson here is that no matter what business you are in small improvements can make all the difference.