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Henry Walker, CEO Farmers & Merchants Bank  

Click Here for Henry Walker's Bio

Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Merry Christmas from Farmers & Merchants Bank
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I'm embarking on a journey to Israel
Lessons I learned at the Winter Olympics
As an avid skier and snowboarder, I was elated to join the throngs of snow-sport enthusiasts from all parts of the globe for the 20th annual Winter Olympics in Vancouver. To be a part of this global competition was a rare opportunity, and I wanted to make every minute count. With only a few days to soak in the Olympic spirit, my companions and I hit the ground running once we stepped foot on Canadian soil.   Trekking through the Olympic jungle, being a guest at sponsored events for skiers and snowboarders, as well as attending other attractions kept us in a frenzy of activity around the clock. The Monster Energy Drink became my constant companion, serving as the catalyst to refuel my body to make sure I didn’t miss a moment of this unforgettable milestone.

Our first event was a hockey match between the Czech Republic and Sweden, two of the top four teams in the world. The fervent intensity of the players was at an all-time high throughout the game, but in the end, the Czech Republic won. As a business competitor, I thought of how the Czech Republic team worked together to achieve the goal and how that same spirit could drive a business organization to produce effectively and maximize efficiency as a united force. Each player was reliant on the other to move forward, which can be a powerful tool in the workplace. Witnessing Lindsey Vonn’s remarkable performance skiing in the Super G with everyone cheering, I wondered how much time, training and tactical strategy it took for her to overcome her shin injury and focus on the finish line. Her ability to not only compete in this event but to ski away with silver speaks volumes about her tenacity and drive. If you translate this determination into the business world, then the current economic climate would only present obstacles unable to hinder those who continue to persevere.

 The push for Canadian Olympians to get gold as the host country was strong. It was shocking to watch the Canadian bobsled team flip over at a moving speed of 90 mph. The team members pushed themselves too hard, which reminded me of how important it is to be realistic about your goals. We were on top of the hill watching Bode Miller ski the Super G when the crowd erupted as he won gold. We also got to see Jon Montgomery take the gold in the skeleton. As I witnessed these athletes miraculously perform to new heights, I thought of all the years of dedication that brought them to this point. They were at the pinnacle of their careers finally receiving the recognition that was years in the making.

I found myself asking, “How do you create this same type of discipline to build a high-performing company?”

Watching these Olympians in action reminded me of how their personal drive and consistent dedication equipped them to be the best at their game. There were many moments to be remembered in the whirlwind of the Olympic Games, and I hope these lessons will continue to inspire us as we dedicate ourselves to driving our businesses forward.