One of the best stories to come out of the Rio Olympics was the gold medal won by 24 year old Sydney woman, Chloe Esposito in the Women’s Modern Pentathlon. I must admit I didn’t know much about the event until I saw a video about Chloe’s miraculous win. Click hereto see the 4 minute video. It’s worth it!
Here are some details about the event and how it’s just like leadership.
1. Success is not determined by one thing. There are five components to the event and the winner is the one that wins the last one, which is handicapped based on results of your performance in the others. Leadership is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
2. The five disciplines are diverse – 200 metre freestyle swimming, fencing, show jumping (that’s on a horse!), and finally a 3,200 metre cross country run interspersed with four rounds of pistol shooting. Being a super star at one thing won’t get you the gold medal. Leadership success comes from consistent effort across a number of disciplines.
3. Composure under pressure. The final round called the Run and Shoot is a massive challenge as competitors are fatigued and distressed from the physical exertion of the run, but then have to compose themselves enough (mentally and physically) to hit five targets with an air pistol, as fast as possible. Oh, and they do that four times! Chloe hit her 20 targets with 21 shots! Leaders need to be calm under pressure.
4. You can’t control everything. A little known fact about the little known event is that the horse a competitor rides in the show jumping is not theirs! There is a random draw for horses so a rider has to deal with what the are given. Leaders can control some things, but not everything.
5. It’s hard. All components of the Modern Pentathlon are held on ONE day. They start early, they finish late. It is a massive challenge, both physical and mental, and a test of character and resolve. Leading is not easy.
Well done Chloe Esposito!