It is about execution

Cropped transparent version of Image:Olympic f...
Cropped transparent version of Image:Olympic flag.svg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Its time once again for the Olympics, and the difference between the last few host cities couldn’t be more apparent. Alleged human rights and environmental abuses aside, you cannot question that the Chinese knew how to put on a good show when it was their turn to host the games. They knew that the world would be watching and squashed anything at all that might tarnish their stage presence. The Chinese built entire cities leading up to the Olympics and even took a stab at beating Mother Nature at her own game.

And then there came the 2014 Winter Games. Hotels lack hot a/o clean water, pillows, lobbies, and in some cases floors. My particular favorite has been reports of toilet stalls that fit two+. I love my husband, but even still we like to maintain some degree of mystery in our relationship. At this point, I believe it might be fair to assume that the games themselves are really only going to be memorable for the athletes and their loved ones.

Where did the planning commission for the Russian games go wrong. They obviously didn’t skimp on the budget. Was there a lack of market research? A lack of accountability regarding missed due dates? Or did they just try to do too much with too little resources?


There are universal constraints to any project: scope, cost, time, and quality.  Pull at any one and you affect the rest. Assuming you don’t allow for any scope creep. You can offer a low-cost product in a short lead time, but don’t try to sell anyone on its quality. If quality is most important, it will either take significant time to be ready to market, or it will be expensive. It is extremely rare to have all and still succeed in the marketplace. In order to execute your plan well, you need to identify which of these three attributes is most important, but at the same time, identify those you are willing to sacrifice as needed. Even more importantly, once you’ve identified your priorities, you need to stick to them come hell or high water.

Comparing the prep work (not the games themselves) what can we learn? Execution matters. It doesn’t matter if you have the world’s best product in the world. If you can’t deliver no one is going to trust you long enough to buy it. The same goes for story ideas. Without proper execution, you can have the most compelling characters the world will never see.

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2 thoughts on “It is about execution

  1. Great post 🙂 It really does boggle the mind how Russia has had so many years to prepare for this event, and still so many things are going wrong that could have easily been avoided. I also really liked how to tied it back to writing!


    1. I was amused when the first few stories starting coming in thinking they were just funny outliers. I mean who hasn’t found out the hard way that the hotel they booked didn’t exactly match the website, but now all I can think is…wow…People are going to be able to write whole text books on what not to do using these case studies.


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