I was sort of at a loss about what to write this blog post on for a while. I am a very structured person; I like rules and directions (probably the reason that I am an accounting major going into audit, lots of rules there). Seeing Michaela write about exploring veganism reminded me just how much freedom I had with this post. Thinking back to what I have been doing and what I have been thinking about the past few weeks, my thoughts kept going back to one subject: diving. I am on the varsity diving team at Bucknell, which is part of the larger Swimming and Diving team. Spending somewhere 18 hours a week practicing tends to ensure that diving is on my mind more often than not. This past weekend, we competed at the Patriot League Swimming and Diving Championships, which was so much fun, as it is every year.
While swimming and diving both are individual sports, we all train and compete as one team. We all have individual goals and things that we want to achieve, but we are also worried about the team’s success and want to help contribute to our team goals. For all sports, there is usually some sort of long-term goal that athletes are working towards, usually a championship meet or competition. The Bucknell Swim and Dive team participates in two championship meets, Patriot League Championships and the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships. One of our team goals each year is to bring home a trophy at both of these meets. This past weekend, the Bucknell women’s team placed 2nd at Patriots, which was a great success for the team and something that I am very proud of.
I definitely have my own individual goals and achieving those feels amazing, but seeing the team reach a common goal is always something special. If people had been overly focused on their individual goals, we may have not had as much success as we did as a team. The energy of the team is always very different at championships because everyone is just so excited to see what we can achieve as a team. People cheer more, work harder, and do anything they can to boost team morale. Athletes know how hard they have worked all season and are excited to watch it pay off. Anyone who has been on a sports team can attest to this fact. The swimming and diving season is particularly long, starting practice in August and finally ending a grueling six months of training at the end of February. I think this makes championships that much more exciting for us because we have been building up to it for so long.
While the topic of diving does not really fit into our class about Business, Government and Society, the idea of short-term vs. long-term goals is definitely relevant to many of the ideas that Lynn Stout addresses in her book, “The Shareholder Value Myth,” and can also be applied to businesses in general. Stout argues that short-term and long-term investors have very different goals, and how focusing on short-term goals can be very harmful to the business in the long run. Cutting corners to achieve short-term goals only has negative affects on the business in the long run. Businesses themselves are made of a group of people, employees, coming together to work towards a common goal, the overall success of the business. If an employee is too focused on their short-term goals and their own career, the business as a whole can suffer. This is absolutely true for teams. A team member too focused on a short-term goal has the ability to harm the long-term success of a team. Only by truly working together to achieve a long-term goal can a team, or a business, reach its true potential.