Was this article helpful?
Are You Running To Win the Prize?
After running my first half marathon, I was inspired by the business lessons found in the course of training for and running a race. Learn what it takes to plan, train and run to win in your business!
If I had to claim any sport, it would be running. I wasn't raised in a household that catered to organized sports, so running was the one thing I could do on my own. On and off I ran - a mile here, a couple miles there, a 10K in high school and another one in my late 20's. But 2009 was the year I got serious about running. I have a friend that's a marathon runner and the passion started to rub off, the excuses melted away and a new hobby emerged. I ran my first half marathon at the Seattle Rock N' Roll race in June 2009. Reflecting back on the training and race, I couldn't help but think about the business lessons found in the course of training for a race... So here goes...
There are winners are there are losers. There are the top 6 winners of the marathon - they're from Kenya and have average mile paces in the 5 minute range. Then there are the rest of us. It's no shock to business owners that there are winners and losers in businesses. You get the big contract or you don't. You become the preferred vendor or your competitor does. You pick up the extra market share due to a competitor leaving the market or another company gets the extra business. So the trick is to figure out what "winning" looks like for your company.
Know how you define "winning". I asked my running coach, "So for my first half marathon, is it good to run a 10 minute pace?" Her response, "it all depends on what your goal is. Some people's goal is to walk the whole race. Other people want to run at an easy pace and keep competing into their 80's." (Very kind of her to not tell me that a 10 minute pace would be a lame goal.) So what defines "winning" for your business? Do you want to dominate the local market? Do you want to be global? Are you specializing in a niche product or service? Do you want to stand out for the highest quality and service in your business? Decide where you want to drive your business. What do you need to change within your company in order to accomplish that?
Pace yourself with the right plan. Having your plan for success with the right mix of activities, ambition and sustainability is important. All the activities of a business must support the overall goals of the business. In training for a race, the action plan can include slower long runs, faster tempo runs, speed work and rest days. Each type of activity has a specific purpose that culminates in a strong, fast, long run on race day. Do you have an action plan for your business that ensures you're laying the groundwork and have the right pieces in place to run to win? Does your plan have all the necessary components to allow you to beat out your competition, even in a changing economy? Are you including rest or fun for you and your team along the way? The famous marathon trainer Hal Higdon recommends walking through all the water stations. Higdon says "Rest is as important a part of your training as the runs." Is your plan sustainable - are you training for the long run?
Get a Coach. A coach pushes you to run the best race you can. A coach helps you see your strengths and helps you shore up your weaknesses. A coach can find those blind spots of a business and provide resources to you and your team that enables them to run to win. Do you have the right training plan? Are you running into problems executing the plan? Do you have all the resources you need to run the best race (and business) you can? Do you have a winning team to run the race with you? A coach can provide process, focus, structure and accountability to enable a business to win the race.
Several weeks ago, I was running with my coach and I was running out of steam. It wasn't a good day - the hills felt higher, the legs not as strong, the water not as refreshing. Her response, "You'll feel better when you're done." Yes, indeed - I certainly did feel better when I was done, and then rested up to have many more successful runs after. And now I'm kicking off my training schedule for the next race - a half marathon in January 2010. Wish me luck!
So what do you need to do to define winning for your business, create a realistic and sustainable plan and accomplish the results you're looking for in 2010? What are you going to do different to improve your results and win the prize? You'll never know what you're capable of accomplishing until you plan, train and run to win!
Learn more about the author, Julia Robinson.
Comment on this article
No one has posted a comment yet. Be the first!
- strategic planning
- business planning
- goal setting
- business improvement