Gianna Angelopoulos and the 2004 Athen Olympics
The case is about how Gianna Angelopoulous, the charismatic leader of Greece, led the bidding organization that secured the 2004 Olympics for Athens and then later the preparations for those Games. Considering the past failures of Greece to win the bid for the 1996 Summer Olympics, she changed the bidding strategy by implementing merit-based strategy instead of asking for Greece’s right being the root of Olympic. Gianna and her team, finally, won the bid. After substantial planning problems threatened to cost Greece the Olympics, Angelopoulos was asked by the prime minister of Greece to take over the preparations, with only 4 of the 7 years remaining. A combination of her extraordinary leadership skills and hard-work enabled Greece to host the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and make a memory of it in the mind of the world’s citizens. In what ways are the bid processes and preparations for the Games similar or different leadership challenges?Political issues and government bureaucracies was one of the challenges that Gianna had to deal with during the preparation stage while it wasn’t a challenge in the bid process.In both processes, Gianna had a deadline but the difference was that in the preparation stage Gianna had to carry out the work load of 7 years plan in 4 years. In the preparation process, Gianna had to deal with the main challenge which was the increase in the costs for most of the projects due to the delay. In both, the bid process and the preparation stage, a new team was required to be created.In both, the bid process and the preparation stage, Gianna had to lead, motivate and manage a diverse group of individuals but in the preparation stage the group was larger. In addition, in the preparation stage volunteers were needed at lower levels. In both of the processes, Gianna had to deal with negative and discouraging ideas from media and the people.In preparations, Gianna had to deal with diverse constituencies and coordinate the efforts among the relevant stakeholders.Unlike the bid process, another main challenge was security in the preparation stage. After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, security became a critical challenge for Gianna to deal with. Lack of a strong culture of volunteerism was another leadership challenge for Gianna in the preparations.Another challenge in the preparations was public oversight of construction with no private funding.In both processes, Gianna faced the challenge of making fast decisions and encouraging others to do so.Are the leadership characteristics and style that led her to successfully win the 2004 Olympics for Athens the same as she needs to lead the preparations stage?The overall leadership style Gianna applied in the bid process and preparations had some similarities and differences. The leadership style she used in the bid process and preparation for the event was the same. She used transformational leadership aiming to change the existing goals and processes and inciting followers to accept and implement the changes. The first action she took in both of the processes was creating a new team. She was focusing on inviting the hard-working, motivated and committed individuals in her team not influential people. As an example, she replaced 20% of the preparation team and, being the head of the bid team, she reduced the committee members from 14 to 4 or 5 core members. In both processes, she focused on making quality and fast decisions but implemented two different decision making styles. She implemented more participative decision making when President of the Athens Bid Committee, but implemented more autocratic decision making when President of the Athens Organizing Committee.

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Bid Processes And Gianna Angelopoulos. (April 3, 2021). Retrieved from