Beating our own drum

The Internet is awash with Olympic fever at the moment and most people in Great Britain, with perhaps the exception of Morrisey and a few others, stand in awe at a games that surpassed expectations.

Today, as we move to the ‘chill out’ room to come down from all the hedonism of the past fortnight, there is much we can learn.

As a nation, we’ve always loved the act of self-deprecation. This can be endearing but also self-defeating when overdone. Thankfully, Danny Boyle and Co had just the right mix when they put on an amazing opening ceremony. The quirky, cheeky, creative GB was on show to the world and the world cast an admiring, if slightly bemused eye on the proceedings. People asked how the sport could possibly follow that. Well, it did. And then some.

Two weeks of sporting brilliance ensued. Athletes from around the globe shone in new and brilliant ways. And then there was Team GB. Our collective self-deprecating psyche likes to believe that we’re plucky on the sports field but also a bit rubbish. We were wrong. So wrong and you only had to hear the groans from the crowd as the Olympic flames were extinguished last night to know that we’ve all been on a journey that may bring a little more introspection.

Maybe it’s the reserved part of our national psyche that doesn’t like to boast. Overconfidence can seem arrogant, distasteful and phony – we flinch when other nations indulge in it. But perhaps we should shout out about our achievements a bit more. If we embrace that quirkiness, that cheekiness, then it will certainly be more endearing than self-deprecation. Not that we should ever stop that. But we shouldn’t be afraid to beat our own drum a bit too.

Businesses – now being marshaled to harness the Olympic buzz – would do well to look at how we communicate what we do best. Not just to potential overseas clients but to ones at home too. So many people get it wrong. They either make it boring or indulge in endless platitudes. Everybody is offering ‘solutions’ and is  ‘passionate’ about everything from selling sofas to tax optimisation!

But if London 2012 taught us anything, it’s that when we use our imaginations and our peculiar personality, heads will turn. Let that be one of the many legacies of these games. And let’s not forget it.


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