As the organizers of Chicago’s 2016 Olympics bid sprint for the finish line, NIU Professor of Management Christine Mooney says that it’s time for local business to begin thinking about ways to become part of the Olympic team.
If Chicago gets the nod, the announcement will be the starting gun for a massive race to prepare, and local companies stand to be big winners if they act wisely, says Mooney, co-author of a paper studying how businesses can benefit from “mega events.”
Those who find ways to successfully insert themselves into the network behind events such as the Olympics can continue collecting gold long after the last medal is presented.
A sidebar suggests the consequences of what I fear, which is Chicago taxpayers taking a large hit from the games.
The key, says Mooney, is looking beyond the finish line from the very start. “Dedicate resources to building trust so those relationships will continue after the event. Building the network is the real payoff, and you can’t assume those relationships will continue just because you worked together.”
Also, she cautions, don’t jump into the Olympic pool if it isn’t a good fit for your business. “You have to assess the costs of membership now and whether benefits outweigh the costs,” she says. “Just as an impressive Olympic performance can vault a company forward, failing can disqualify it in the future.”
If the games are a big success, you are on the winning team. If they go down in history as a boondoggle, you are forever associated with their failure.On the other hand, to use another cliche, you took one for the team.