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02 Apr 2019
Olympic News

Paris 2024 leadership absorbs in-depth knowledge provided by ELP

During the latest intervention of the Executive Learning Pathway (ELP), designed for and with Paris 2024, the participating executive team explored several topics related to the strategic operations of an OCOG.

The training, which took place in the French capital on 22 January 2019, looked at the lifecycle of an OCOG and the predictability of opportunities and challenges for the senior executive team; the difference between management and leadership principles; the right balance between positive and defensive communications; and opportunities provided through the New Norm.

Bill Morris, former LOCOG Director for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Torch Relay, Culture, Education and Live Sites, facilitated the session and is the course leader for the Paris 2024 ELP. He explains: "We are in a knowledge business. Both the Olympic Movement and the Olympic Games are based on knowledge. We are not producing cars or concrete, but what we do is based on an intellectual philosophical construct. Mounting the Games requires in-depth knowledge. Accordingly educating, mentoring and offering support should be a fundamental part of what we do."

That is exactly where the ELP comes into play. It provides a unique environment for senior OGOG and delivery partners to consider the large strategic decisions to enhance Games value and seek the highest level of delivery efficiency. The primary focus areas are governance, strategy, vision and innovation, aligned with the New Norm principles.

"OCOG executives are often high-powered and extremely talented people, and Paris 2024 is a good example in this respect," says Bill, and adds: "But typically, only a third or half of them have Games experience, which is actually good as they bring in different angles, creativity and fresh ideas. However, they need to be supported quickly on how to take important decisions for the OCOG, which are often very Games-specific."

The Paris 2024 executive team has responded very positively to the ELP interventions. The agenda is driven by them and their needs, and then co-constructed with the IOC. "We run the interventions in a spirit such that everyone learns from each other" says Bill, "not just the Paris team, but expert speakers and certainly me as the facilitator!" 

"I regret the ELP wasn’t in place for London 2012," adds Bill, who at that time had not been directly involved in the organisation of a previous Olympic Games edition. "Like other OCOGs before us, we brought in external consultants with rich Games experience, but it was sometimes difficult to know who to choose and how to close certain knowledge gaps." 

Besides the transfer of knowledge, the ELP also helps the OCOG leadership to build confidence, ask the right questions, bring up new ideas and also make mistakes in a protected space. In addition, it is a good team-building exercise, where the OCOG senior executives learn together and explore topics of common interest which will occupy them during their Olympic journey. A good example for one such topic is communications. During the January meeting, Jackie Brock Doyle, formerly LOCOG Communications Director, talked about the positioning of the Games to the nation and selling them to stakeholders. She also shared her insights about striking the right balance between proactive and reactive communications, something every director will be confronted with at some stage. The programme is flexible and can be easily adapted to current needs, something that Paris 2024 is taking full advantage of. The January session has already sparked many new ideas for the next interventions, all of which came from Paris 2024 - co-creation and the New Norm spirit at its best!

Tony Estanguet, President of Paris 2024: "No matter how well prepared one is - and I think we have a really strong and experienced team within Paris 2024, there is no greater challenge, from an organisation perspective, than hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games. That’s why the ELP programme is such a great opportunity for us: it allows us to exchange with previous OCOGs executives, people who have been in our shoes and have faced similar challenges and opportunities. Even if each Games edition is different, there is nothing more valuable to us than learning from those who have done it before in an informal setting."

This year, the IOC will be also working with Paris 2024 on launching Learning Pathways for 10 of its Functional Areas. This forms part of its overall Learning Strategy and ensures that learning and sharing are applied across all levels.

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