As the Olympic Games in Rio come to a close, we begin to reflect on the amount of history that was made, the amount of records that were broken, and the amount of pride every country had. There were many inspirational stories from around the world that we can learn some great lessons from, but there was one common factor that lead the Olympians to victory, and that was the power of collaboration. We saw over and over again that effective communication and teamwork have resulted in gold medals. Without the support of the athlete’s family, coaches, friends, or teammates, they wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what they did over the last couple of weeks.

 rio 2016 olympics

Workplaces operate in a similar way. No business can be successful with only one person running the show; you need the support from the people around you to continue to push forward. Collaboration has always been the underlying key to success when it comes to effective communication and efficiency during the Olympics and this goes for regular workplaces as well. While Olympic athletes have their differences in what makes them great, there are many similar characteristics they share – and it’s these characteristics that anyone can implement in their own ways to get them where they want to be.

While observing the Olympics (and cheering for Team Canada!), along the way we’ve picked up a few things from the Olympians themselves. Here are three things that the Olympic Games have taught us about the power of collaboration.

Effective communication is a STANDARD for team excellence

The heart of collaboration is rooted in communication. If your team is not communicating together, how do you expect success from it? Which is why communication should be the benchmark for any team’s success. More specifically, effective communication amongst all parties involved. As we’ve seen in team sports such as basketball and volleyball, it’s crucial that teammates communicate amongst each other on the court in order to beat their opponents. Can you imagine if teams didn’t communicate effectively with their teammates? They would completely lose the gold medal, or any medal for that matter.

Within an office setting, each team specializes in something different and each team is responsible for their part to make the organization successful. They are all part of the bigger picture and it’s their responsibility to communicate with each other to ensure that their parts are working well with others, which is where effective communication among employees comes in. Building an overall company culture that encourages open communication and collaboration like these top companies is also key in work communication. Take some time to re-examine your team’s communication to see if anything needs to be improved to hit that gold medal standard.

Surround yourself with people who make you better

You can’t get by without a little help from your friends. Usain Bolt may be the world’s fastest man, but he couldn’t be without help from his coach, Glen Mills. “Coaches have to continuously react and replay and redo the drills, getting the athlete to run over and over to break habits, “ stated Mills. By collaborating together through training for the last 4 years in preparation for these games, Bolt was able to get the title of being the most decorated runner in the world’s history to capture gold in all his events over the last 3 Olympic Games.

Collaboration at work has shifted from an individualistic culture to a collaborative culture over the years. We’re no longer relying on ourselves to get the job done, but collaborating with others to produce the best work possible with everyone’s expertise. It is more effective and efficient this way with everyone sharing ideas to improve quickly. A gold medal collaboration would consist of team members who are all on the same page with the same goals, and the same ambitious drive to accomplish them.

Always be learning new things

Someone once said, “the day I stop learning is the day I retire”. We’re constantly learning every day from our successes and even from our mistakes. This is no different for athletes hoping to beat the Olympic and world record times; they’re constantly learning new techniques to push themselves to their limits. Even if they’re the best in the world, they are constantly developing themselves through feedback and responses. Ryan Lochte on the USA swim team discovered a new freestyle turn which he called “The Lochte Turn”, which gives him almost a full-second advantage over most of his competitors. Even after 100 years into freestyle swimming, these athletes are constantly looking for new ways to break records and make Olympic history.

Without constant learning in the workplace, businesses would never grow. Learning is an ongoing process: learning from trends in the industry, from the people you work with, and from other parts of the workplace. Lessons are always being taught when you’re on the journey to creating the perfect experience for your partners, employees, and customers. More specifically, eLearning has quickly emerged into the scene as a place where users are able to be onboarded and educated about new products and more! Close to 42 percent of Fortune 500 companies are now using Learning Management Systems (LMS) to save on costs and make learning content available 24/7. In order to be the best, you need be constantly be in the loop about new changes and updates, which makes eLearning a gold medal addition to any company’s strategies.

The lessons learned from the journey to win the gold medal are as valuable as the medal itself. Let’s hope that these athletes take what they’ve learned about the power of collaboration from these Olympics to break more records at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020!