The Jiangsu Sports Administration (JSA) is responsible for nurturing and training talented athletes to qualify for the China National Team. It also promotes sports for the public and works to enhance the general physical fitness of everyone living within Jiangsu Province. Jiangsu Sports now works with 1,700 full-time athletes and about 600 coaches and administrative staff. There is also a financial outcome when the Administration does well.
In the 2005 10th Quadrennial National Games held in Nanjing, Capital of Jiangsu Province, the Jiangsu Teams were motivated to earn honor for the people of Jiangsu. The teams worked diligently. The athletes, fit and well trained, competed to the best of their abilities. To everyone’s surprise, they exceeded expectations, ranking first when the final results were in. This result far surpassed the Administration’s organizational goal to rank among the top three nationally. Everyone celebrated, of course, but after the celebration ceremony, the athletes and coaches seemed to lose momentum.
Expectations are your assessment of what is possible for you. Group expectations aggregate to Organizational Culture. How could we continue to set records and exceed what our leaders, coaches, teams and athletes believed possible? With this challenge in mind, three senior-level administrators, including JSA Leader Yin Baolin, attended an “Investment in Excellence” public seminar hosted by The Pacific Institute, China. There the Administration learned to see the challenge in a new way. Although the Jiangsu Sports Teams had won the National Games Championship, the group’s self-image had not caught up. Was its champion status an accident? Was it a matter of chance? Champions, yes! But they did not see themselves as champions forever.This meant they had no idea how to sustain their success. They had leveled off on a plateau and lost the energy needed to excel and exceed their prior achievements. How do you change this group self-image? How do you change the culture to one of continuous improvement and record-setting achievements? Understanding that each person needed to change his personal thinking, leadership chose to introduce and roll out “Investment in Excellence”
to help everyone – leaders, coaches and athletes alike – to set new goals, change their self-images, and gain the drive needed to sustain success and continue to set and break records.
In 2008, top athletes from around the world gathered in Beijing for the Beijing Olympic Games. Athletes and coaches of the China National Olympic Team faced overwhelming expectations to earn honor before the entire world for China and Chinese people. During the preparation phase, Jiangsu coaches and athletes as well as other team members, experienced extreme stress. Jiangsu Sports leaders and coaches always understood that to excel in the Olympics, the athletes faced significant physical challenges. Now they also understood the nature and extent of even greater challenges those athletes faced on the psychological level. With “Investment in Excellence” and support from The Pacific Institute, JSA leaders, coaches and athletes were ready. They knew how to prepare their own minds. Everyone pitched in, mutually supporting each other with concepts and processes from “Investment in Excellence.” The primary group task became helping coaches and athletes maintain stable and sound athletic form while focusing on how to release their entire capabilities under conditions of extreme tension and stress, as if those conditions were without effect or meaning. After the Beijing Olympic Games, Jiangsu Sports faced the 11th National Games while ensuring efficient operation of the organization and improving the benefits for its staff at the same time.
Preparing for the 2008 Olympic Games and the following National Games, Jiangsu Sports tasked the sports team administrators, coaches, and athletes to study “Investment in Excellence.” Studying and working together, they applied the “Investment in Excellence” processes and concepts. This team learning and mutual support process caused the entire organization to develop a common language of performance and a shared understanding of how their minds work, individually and collectively. Each participant wrote an essay and visualized their personal goals and outcomes. Each learned to commit to personal and team achievements. As part of building and changing the organization’s culture, the administration ran a competition to select and award the best “Investment in Excellence” essay. Administrators led by example, studying “Investment in Excellence,” some as many as four to five times. Jiangsu Sports also trained a dozen internal facilitators certified by The Pacific Institute, China. Altogether, thousands of athletes, coaches, and administrators received “Investment in Excellence” training. They learned that external achievement first manifests itself internally, and they also learned how to ensure this achievement happens again and again and again.
Results2008 Beijing Olympic Games
- Eight athletes won eight gold medals
- Six athletes shared three silver medals
- Four athletes shared three bronze medals
- Jiangsu Sports athletes won more gold medals than did athletes from any other province. In total medals awarded, Jiangsu ranked second.
- Jiangsu Sports won the Superb Organization title for the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics and was praised by the China State Council.
- Youth Women’s Football Champions
- Women’s Football Runner-up
- Numerous other achievements
Sports Lottery Sales Volume – Financial Results
- Largest for five consecutive years
- Rising to 16.181 billion RMB in 2012 from 43.4 million RMB in 2007
“Investment in Excellence” greatly helped us master changes, achieve goals, and fulfill our tasks during the Olympics and National Games.”
Yin Baolin, Jiangsu Sports Administration Leader
“Investment in Excellence helped me achieve sustainable success and gain more confidence.”
Mr. Huang Xu, Captain of the 2008 Olympics Gymnastics Men Team and now Deputy Head of Gymnastics Department of Nanjing Sports Institute
“Investment in Excellence not only helps athletes achieve superb performance on the field, it also is central to aligning team members and arousing unprecedented team unity, cohesion, and spirit before the match.”
Mr. Lee Hongbing, Head Coach of the Women’s Football Team
“Investment in Excellence helped us create an organization culture of honesty, integrity, inner and outer strength, and the pursuit of excellence. By internalizing the principles we established shared values of continuous improvement, innovation, expansion, and diligence. This lays the foundation of continuous improvement and a high growth rate every year. Athletic training is tough, and athletic competition is cruel. Everyone at Jiangsu Sports Administration believes the many important concepts in “Investment in Excellence” are fundamental for achieving happiness and performance excellence. Examples include improving self-efficacy, expanding comfort zones, controlling self-talk, raising self-image and personal esteem, crafting positive affirmations that work, visualization, and self-motivation. These are among the practical psychological tools enabling coaches and athletes to face and overcome challenges. “Investment in Excellence” also allows us to see and understand greater meaning in our training and work. We learn to actively remove blind spots, expand our thinking, clarify goals, align our steps, improve team spirits, and devote ourselves wholeheartedly to surpassing our own prior achievements and achieving unprecedented results.”
Mr. Tao Xin, Director of the Sports Lottery
“In summary, everyone from the leaders to the coaches to the athletes at the Jiangsu Sports Administration studies, assimilates, and applies “Investment in Excellence” and continues to succeed in improving self-efficacy, leadership efficacy, team efficacy, and organizational efficacy. This process is our “secret” to establishing a positive, constructive organization culture, a culture of continuing record setting performance.”