Owning the Decisive Moment: What Olympians and Organizations Have in Common

As the 2012 summer Olympics came to a close recently, I found myself reflecting on the great moments of the games. There were moments of success, excitement, expectation and disappointment. For athletes, making it to the Olympics takes years of preparation – and endless hours of training, learning and continuous improvement – culminating in a “make or break” moment in the competition. It dawned on me that organizations too, are very much like athletes: constantly preparing and improving by defining best practices, applying those practices to decisions, then evaluating the results and applying any learning to the next decision. These are what I would call “decisive moments.”

Any moment can become a decisive moment. For a basketball player, it can be that moment when he decides whether to drive to the hoop for a lay-up or go for the 3-pointer. For a cyclist, it could be a choice between passing a competitor or pacing herself for the final lap. A gymnast might have to assess his whole team’s performance and decide which moves in his own repertoire can best secure a medal. To meet their goals, organizations must rise to the challenge of their decisive moments as well, whether those moments involve deciding how to handle a security breach, or determining how to better service customer needs.

The goal is to prepare for these decisive moments before they arrive, and when they do, use all the knowledge and resources available to make the best decisions and take the best actions. Athletes will accomplish this through practice, and by learning from their successes and failures. Organizations can learn from their successes and failures too. But unlike athletes, their insight comes from real-time alerting, trend analysis and debriefing tools.

When preparing for decisive moments, athletes will take advice from their teammates or cues from their coaches. When faced with situations, control room operators must rely on real-time alerts, standard operating procedures, collaboration capabilities and relevant incident information. Whether decisive moments involve athletes or organizations, the key to making good decisions is getting the right information to the right people at the right time.

Olympic teams also want to provide their athletes with the best equipment for training and competing. So too do organizations. This is exactly the reasoning behind NICE’s integrated security solutions (NICE Situator, NiceVision and NICE Inform). NICE created these solutions to help organizations synthesize data and transform it into insight so they can take the next-best-action.

The 2012 Olympics may be over, but many of the athletes are already hard at work preparing for their next competition. Today’s organizations should follow the athletes’ example so they can be confident that when faced with their next decisive moments, they can own them!

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