725-867-8495 WWW.ASKEROTHLAW.COM JUNE 2020 LEARNING TO MAXIMIZE STRENGTHS
In the 2016 Olympics in Rio, the Japanese men’s 4x100 meter relay team was a huge underdog. Japan is not known for its running prowess, and the Japanese 4x100 meter team was not expected to medal in the race. The odds were stacked against them. Not a single runner on the Japanese team was able run the 100 meters distance faster than 10 seconds, while all the other teams in the final had at least one runner who could. Plus, the Jamaican team had Usain Bolt, who held the world record with 9.85 seconds. On paper, Japan had no chance of winning. Yet, at the end of the race, the Japanese team shocked everyone (except maybe themselves) and won silver. They accomplished this incredible feat by working as a team to focus on their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. How did they accomplish this feat? The Japanese team put in years of hard work developing and improving things they could control, like finding a better way of passing the baton. The team knew they couldn’t outrun their competitors, so they instead focused on shaving time off of their overall combined run by focusing on the important aspect of handing off the baton. The 4x100 meter relay race has three baton passes from one runner to the next. The handover must happen in a certain section of the track, and if a runner misses the handoff in this section, the team is disqualified. The quality and efficiency of the handoff are crucial, and the fastest team can fail if they don’t pass the baton efficiently or if they drop it. The Japanese team realized they could increase the efficiency and speed at which they transferred the baton by changing a few things. First, they realized they could shave some time off by changing the way they placed their hands on the baton. Most runners in the relay don’t put their hands on top of each other during the handover. Japan, however, found they could accomplish the handover more quickly by placing their hands over each other during the exchange. This reduced the likelihood of them dropping the baton and improved the efficiency of the handover. Additionally, the Japanese team worked hard to improve their verbal and audible cues so the next runner didn’t have And Minimize Weaknesses
to look over their shoulder to take the baton. When a runner has to look back or over their shoulder, their speed decreases. Synchronization is the most important aspect of the handover. The team also tweaked the technique to increase the distance between the runners during the handoff; the further apart the runners are, the less they have to actually run, which shaves off some time on the overall race. Finally, they improved their shoulder position during the handoff by tilting their shoulders a few degrees when receiving the baton. The team put a lot of research into other aspects of the race too — like trigger point signaling to the next runner to start at the optimal handover point — and used three high-speed cameras to support their research. By focusing on the handoff, the Japanese were able to shave off time, even though not a single runner on the team could run the 100-meter distance in under 10 seconds. Their hard work and preparation paid off, and they came in second place. What can we learn from the experience of the Japanese relay team? Right now, some of us might be experiencing challenges we never imagined. Our law firm has had to change and adapt because of the current crisis. However, with the recent changes, our firm has discovered new opportunities and other ways to help our community (for example: helping small business obtain insurance benefits for business interruption caused by COVID-19). Like the Japanese Olympic team in the 4x100 meter race, we can find opportunities to growwhen faced with adversity and challenges, and come out stronger and better for them. Sometimes, it just takes a bit of hard work and some creative thinking.
“THEY ACCOMPLISHED THIS INCREDIBLE FEAT BYWORKING AS A TEAM TO FOCUS ON THEIR STRENGTHS AND MINIMIZE THEIR WEAKNESSES. ”
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