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Aksel Lund Svindal: The Mindset of a World Champion Skier

Everyone should buy into the idea that working together in a team will make us perform better. But it only works if everyone buys into the idea 100 percent. Aksel Lund Svindal, a downhill skiing legend, shares the benefits of team building and the mindset of an athlete.

Aksel Lund Svindal, a highly decorated skier, including five-time world champion, knows what it takes to work towards personal goals and how to get there. Having been a leader of Norway’s national team he understands how to improve both individual and group results through teamwork; “there is nothing that can be done better alone compared to how the team could do it,” says Aksel.

Team building for success

Live on stage at the Oslo Business Forum, Aksel shared experiences from his skiing career and underscored that teamwork skills stand central to become the best at what you do, where success and failure is part of the learning curve. Self-sacrifice for a group will ultimately yield results for the group and the individual, because, according to Aksel:

  • You must truly believe that you will be better if you contribute to the team
  • Your individual goals must be aligned with those of the group

Aksel’s retirement from skiing has taken him down the business path, where he is an enthusiastic start-up investor and looks for team-spirit qualities. Teamwork stretches beyond the employees to other stakeholders, so between investors and organizations close teamwork should be created, explains Aksel.

A collective group belief of an idea will become stronger when good teamwork is happening between the parties involved, and an investment will thrive. Here, Aksel highlights that innovators should be diligent and only seek out investors who will personally get behind their ideas and goals.

Risk and reward reality

Aksel’s talk got the audience on the edge of their seat when he described his adrenaline-fueled ski runs. He explained what it was like to stand at the top of a downhill run, and his risk-evaluating mindset before the start. He would analyze the risk of each turn and evaluate the rewards compared to the risks. With the help of data from team and coach, Aksel would prepare for the run by making a plan that he could get behind and believe in. By bringing together facts and confidence he would put his fears aside and go for it.

This summarized risk-analysis assessment is how he was able to compete at the highest level for many years. The same mindset is comparable for leaders and entrepreneurs, because business decisions will often affect others, not just the decision-maker, highlights Aksel. Mindset is key here to prepare for decision repercussions, so that you will be able to make the right decisions, and be able to adjust when difficulties arise.

Other personal factors come into play, such as, honesty and motivation, which are qualities a leader should strengthen. True honesty with yourself and true motivation should be the aim for a winning mindset. As Aksel concludes: “If you can’t win it in your own mind then it’s hard to win in reality.”