Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke

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Michael Phelps: An Inspiration – To Athletes and to Leaders

By winning 22 Olympic medals, 17 of them gold, Michael Phelps has elevated himself to the title of greatest Olympian of all-time. He has performed at the highest level possible for a very long time. In the process, he has achieved almost a mythical greatness. While the lauds he is receiving are well-deserved, let’s take a look at the three core qualities that have made him so outstanding.   

  1. Hard Work. Many believe that people who possess world-class skills are simply naturally gifted. While they are certainly gifted, there is a complimentary trait that they all possess: Work ethic. The secret that all achievement-oriented, naturally gifted people know is that excellence requires effort!

Lesson for Leaders: Practice your craft with unwavering precision. Seek to grow your skills by being a student of leadership.


  1. Focus. Michael Phelps set his sights on the goal of being a terrific swimmer and winning several gold medals. While growing up, his idol was Michael Jordan, another hardworking overachiever. Mr. Phelps believed that Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player of all-time. As such, he focused on becoming the greatest swimmer he could be.

Lesson for Leaders: Set your goals big. Craft a strategic plan on how to achieve your goals. Laser in on positive actions that will drive your team to the pinnacle of success.


  1. Passion. You have to like what you do. Why is Michael Phelps retiring? Answer: Because he is tired of looking at a black strip at the bottom of a pool. His extreme passion is waning and he is smart enough to realize that you cannot be the best if you do not possess passion for what you do. I have the honor of knowing professionals in a great many industries. The industries include manufacturing, real estate, technology, professional services, health care, communications, food services, railroads and many more. The highest achieving people I work with have incredible passion for what they do. In addition, they have a passion for positively impacting others.

Lesson for Leaders: Recognize that passion is one of the greatest strengths of a leader. Make certain that your passion resonates in the workplace. Also, help others find or demonstrate their passion for excellence.


Bottom Line: To achieve greatness a leader must have talent, a strong work ethic, laser focus, and passion. You may not be rewarded with a gold medal, but the positive results you drive will be felt in the hearts and minds of your team for a very long time.


Do you want to use this blog post in print or online? 

Please do so, as long as you do not alter the content or embedded links. Also, please include the following information: Doug Van Dyke is a Tampa Bay based leadership and collaboration consultant, executive coach, and strategic planner. Doug’s book, Leadership Simplified, as well as CDs and DVDs are available at www.leadershipsimplified.com. To learn more about coaching and training services, contact Doug today at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). 

© 2012 Leadership Simplified. All rights reserved.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2012-08-06 at 08:22 AM
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