That is what my wife, daughters and I kept saying last night as we watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. It was a visual and musical feast of color, precision, costumes, pageantry and surprises.
Much has been made about the desire of China to use the Olympic Games to help transform their image on the world stage. It’s working. For my young daughters, the predominant imprint of China in their minds will be a country that blends magic, beauty and technology. And the sheer size of the spectacle – from the number of synchronized performers to the successive waves of fireworks – conveyed the message that China is not looking to arrive on the world stage; China is here.
Companies and organizations can take a lesson here. China has shown us both style and substance; powerful forces in transforming the way that people talk, think, believe and act towards their country.
The Olympics will not whitewash away the many troubling issues that China must deal with – human rights, environmental pollution, unfair trade practices. But China set out to proactively and deliberately reframe and broaden the world’s view of their country and their people. It took a tremendous investment of time, money, resources and faith to make it happen, but they didn’t back down from the challenges that led up to the opening of the games.