Productive Leaders

Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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Stick that Landing!

During the London Olympics we marveled at tremendous feats of tumbling, vaulting, bars, rings and beams. Did you hear the parents encouraging their competitors? Over and over we heard “stick the landing!” As fans we held our collective breathe until that last important step was firmly planted on the mat. The landing shows control and mastery. Maintaining strength and focus until the very end, throughout the entire routine, is critical to a successful gymnastics event, or costly deductions result. What does “sticking the landing” look like in business? It means:

  • Preparing to be great during every second of an event.
  • Following up with people you promised to contact after an event.
  • Returning phone calls quickly.
  • Reaching out to customers AFTR they made a purchase.
  • Continuing to add value to your clients long after the sale is complete.

Olympic athletes teach us lessons to remember in life and in business:

  • Get back up after a fall or a loss and try again.
  • Focus on the next event, not on the past.
  • Your teammates are just as important to your success as you are.
  • Do everything with 100% of effort.
  • How you behave, your sportsmanship, is just as important as whether or not you “won” the deal.

My favorite Olympic moments were not about the medals. The most amazing moments were watching intensely competitive athletes from different countries and different teams congratulating each other. Win or not, that mutual respect and acknowledgment of the years of effort by a fellow competitor was truly sticking the landing.



  1. Patty Farmer

    I love this article! I especially like the what does “sticking the landing” look like in business list. It is all about the follow up.


  2. Shirley Taylor

    Great article, Mary. In Singapore at APSS we have a saying, “Collaboration is the New Competition”. I know sport is the ultimate in competition, but when you see how they congratulate each other, you realise that collaboration will truly help us all to “stick the landing”.

  3. Mark Struczewski

    Great post, Mary. In terms of “sticking the landing,” it REALLY irritates me when companies are ON social media but they fail to STICK THE LANDING by ENGAGING their followers. They want US to follow THEM and to read everything THEY tweet/post but they don’t want to engage us. I wish I could ban companies/brands that do this. Social media is a TWO-WAY conversation.

  4. Todd Brockdorf

    Great points for business, Mary! If companies really want to stick the landing, I would add “offer something unexpected” to the list. It will wow the customers and leave an indelible impression.

  5. Martha Giffen

    Great article! I believe sticking the landing means following up like crazy. The fortune is in the follow ups!

  6. Carmen

    Great article. I love the business tips. Thank you.

  7. Sharon O'Day

    Mary, there are actually so many lessons we can borrow from the Olympics to apply in our lives and our businesses. Makes me wonder if part of the incredible global appeal doesn’t come from the fact that we become familiar, intimately familiar through the camera lens and TV screen, with individuals who are achieving and living something that we yearn to achieve and live ourselves …

  8. Mys Palmer

    Nice analogy Mary!

    Sticking the landing is the ultimate follow through that so many seem to bypass altogether. Our work doesn’t end with the sale. Lifelong, residual business is formed by cultivating real relationships with our buyers. That simply can’t happen when we go chasing another sale or stay dwelling on flailing instead of following through and moving forward.

  9. Candace

    Wow awesome article. Sticking to the landing applies to life in general! If you want to keep a good reputation as well, you absolutely need to reach out to the clients you did business for. And before you attempt to make any sale, develop the relationship with the potential client and maintain it after the sale. They will not only be more likely to give you repeat business but they will more than appreciate you for that. Over deliver as well, as that will make your clients very happy.


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