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5 Lessons Community Managers Can Learn from the 2016 Summer Olympics

Retired Community Manager

The 2016 Summer Olympics have come and gone. History was made, records were broken, and champions were crowned. But beyond the medals, the Olympics are full of memorable moments—lessons that we, as community managers, can learn from.


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1. Beat the odds. Monica Puig, a tennis player from Puerto Rico, was ranked #34 in the world, yet defeated two top-ten players in the Olympics to win the gold. British showjumper Nick Skelton claimed a gold medal at age 58, becoming Britan’s second-oldest gold medalist. Both faced incredibly high odds, yet beat the odds to win. What are the odds you’re facing as a community manager? Face them with the same kind of perseverance that Puig and Skelton possess.


2. Rally around a common cause. In the Olympics’ opening ceremony, Brazil showed a video focusing on the problem of global warming and climate change. This won the support of environmental advocates, uniting the world around a common cause. David Katoatau a Kirabati weightlifter, danced after every lift to raise awareness for the climate change in his homeland. The beauty of people rallying around a common cause came through, and that’s a lesson we can bring into community management. What’s the common cause you can rally your company and members around?


3. “In the face of everythiquotescover-PNG-21.pngng, still stand.” American gymnast Gabby Douglas was criticized for not putting her hand over her heart during the national anthem. She faced backlash on Twitter, despite explaining that she was taught to stand at attention for the national anthem. Soon after, #Love4GabbyUSA started trending. Regarding the incident, Douglas said, “For me, when you go through a lot and you have so many difficulties and people against you, sometimes it just determines your character. Are you going to stand or are you going to crumble? In the face of everything, still stand.”


4. Learn from your mistakes. In the 2012 Olympics, Chad le Clos beat Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly race by 0.05 of a second. Phelps watched footage of the race to see what his mistakes were so he wouldn’t make them again. As a result, Phelps beat le Clos in the same event this year, and ended his career with an amazing 23 gold medals. We all make mistakes. We’re all human. The key is learning from those mistakes. Know what they are so you won’t make them again.


5. True Olympic spirit. Abbey D’Agostino and Nikki Hamblin were racing in a 5,000m heat when Hamblin tripped, and D’Agostino was caught up in the tumble. Rather than sprinting off, she stopped and helped Hamblin to her feet. D’Agostino fell again, and Hamblin chose to stay by her side, giving up her own chances at a medal. Both were praised for their sportsmanship and for showing true Olympic spirit. For community managers, there are projects that we get involved in day in and day out. At the end of the day, remember that it’s about working together—with your team and your community—to get to that destination, and it’s that Olympic spirit that will drive you forward.







These are just a handful of lessons we saw from the Olympics. What events did you watch? What stuck out? Share them in the comments below!