Commitment and Training

I just returned from another trip to Australia where I was doing some coaching work. While I was there. I met and had dinner with a fascinating couple. He had won the US masters downhill ski championships a few years ago, so you can imagine how good a skier he must be. He and his wife had moved from their homeland of Austria to Australia in the 70’s to start a business, one focused on servicing the ski industry. Along the way, he has become one of the most knowledgeable people in the world regarding the biomechanics of skiers and their equipment (he has consulted to the Austrian national ski team for years).

Over a delightfully long dinner we talked about, amongst other things, what made some people superstars, why some people consistently perform at a very high level, and who the very best are and were in skiing and auto racing. In their opinion (with regard to skiers), Franz Klammer was probably the best of all time, but others like Ingemar Stenmark and Hermann Maier were right up there. Even though I have not seen the coverage of Klammer’s amazing downhill run to win the 1976 Olympic gold medal since that year, I can still picture most of it in my mind. I guess I’ve always been fascinated and drawn to peak performances, no matter what the discipline. Klammer’s gold medal run was one of the all-time great performances, in my opinion.

As this couple told me of their success in the business they created in Australia, building it up and then selling it a few years ago, I asked about some of the keys to their success (it was obvious they didn’t sell a business that was struggling!).

They told me of how they trained retailers about their products better than anyone else. They made sure sellers of their products didn’t just know about the features of their products, but they knew the intimate details of them. They knew the products inside and out. More importantly, the sellers used the product.

I wonder how many companies would be more successful if they made the level of commitment to training that this couple did with their business? It seems to me that many companies talk about training, and they even provide training. But I doubt many companies make the kind of commitment that my dinner hosts did, and to being successful.

As we sat overlooking Sydney Harbour in one of the nicest homes I’ve been in, I thought about Klammer and the training he committed to in order to win an Olympic gold medal… then I thought about what I was going to do next for personal training.

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