2012 Summer Olympics: 100M Heckler and Doing the Right Thing

Posted on August 6, 2012 | in 2012 Summer Olympics, Quality, Sports, Toyota Way | by
olympic 100m final usain bolt yohan blake justin gatlin bottle thrown heckler judo lean blitz consulting

A heckler slings a plastic bottle at the runners right before the start of the Men’s 100M final at the Olympics. (Photo from UK Telegraph)

Yesterday at the Olympics a heckler in the crowd at the track and field stadium threw a plastic bottle at the runners just before the Men’s 100M final.

It didn’t affect the race – U.S. sprinter Justin Gatlin said he heard some commotion behind him before the starter’s pistol but he blocks out all distractions before the gun and thought nothing of it.

This is less about what stadium security should have done to keep this knucklehead out of the stadium and more about doing the right thing when you see a problem.

Unfortunately for this fellow, he was seated right in front of bronze medal-winning Dutch jukoda Edith Bosch. After he threw the bottle, Bosch tackled the heckler before he was grabbed and dragged away by security.

(There are multiple reports saying she “tackled” him or she “hit” him – either way, she reacted to his disruption.)

When we come across problems in our processes, how do we react? Do we let them be because we “don’t have time to deal with it” or “it’s not that big of deal” or something similar?

Principle #5 from The Toyota Way states “Build a culture of stopping to fix problems, to get quality right the first time.” When we allow poor behaviors or situations to continue, the problems build and potentially become more costly to fix.

If Bosch had not tackled the man, he still would have been escorted away by security but maybe the effort to do so would have been greater. Her assistance in the matter helped make the problem go away just a little faster.

100m final usain bolt justin gatlin heckler bottle tackle judoka uk telegraph 2012 olympics london

As Sebastian Coe put it after the race, it was “poetic justice” that the heckler was seated next to a Dutch judoka who wouldn’t tolerate his behavior. (Photo from UK Telegraph)


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