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Leadership at the Winter Games

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

In some ways, David Atkins was under more pressure than anybody at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and he’s not even an athlete.

As executive producer of the opening ceremony, Atkins had a tough act to follow: Zhang Yimou spent more than $100 million and used 15,000 performers to produce the opening ceremony at the 2008 Olympic Games in China.  

With the global economy still shaky, Olympic organizers were eager to show that they could conserve money, so they gave Atkins a budget that was 30% less than Yimou’s. How could he produce a similar spectacle with two-thirds the resources?

Of course, that’s a position that many of us find ourselves in today.

Atkins’ solution: He used much less manpower, relying on tech-driven illusion. Result: A simpler opening ceremony but one that still succeeded.

— Adapted from “Leadership Lessons From the Winter Olympics,” Phil Stott, CNBC.com.

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