As the strategic planning consultant to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame I get some inside looks at the high performance culture of the sports world. A couple years ago I was sitting next to a very sweaty and happy Chris Perry, who minutes earlier had won an NCAA championship title. I asked Chris when he started wrestling and he said in 4th grade. It takes that kind of proactive plan to become a NCAA Champion. His dad was sitting behind us weeping tears of joy and relief having invested heavily in the sustainable approach to success over the past 12-15 years.
I think Rich Bender (head of USA Olympic wrestling) is weeping tears of another kind. The sport has been mostly reactive over the years. They thought by default they would always be in the Olympics until the IOC voted them out. The sport was fortunately reinstated after frantic action by FILA to “revamp the organization and reshape the sport to save its Olympic status.” The default/reactive approach resulted in the unthinkable, whereas Perry’s proactive approach has resulted in the mostly unachievable.