Business lessons learned from the Boston Marathon
Friday, April 19, 2019
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to watch the Boston Marathon. If you’ve haven’t seen this race, which happens to be the oldest marathon in the U.S., I’d encourage you to do so. It’s quite a sight to behold. Here are some of my key takeaways from the race.
It’s a marathon. Not a sprint.
You hear people toss this phrase around in business all the time. However, it’s not until you watch a race like this that you can fully grasp this concept.
I happened to be standing around mile 23 of this 26.2-mile race, so I was able to see the runners pacing themselves since they had three or so miles to go. They know that in order to finish the race, they have to reserve energy to run through the tape at the finish line.
In business, many companies putter out before they arrive at the finish line. That’s because the leaders of these organizations aren’t pacing themselves.
They and their people are on call 24/7 and are given no rest time in between assignments. It’s no wonder why so many companies falter at the time where you’d expect them to be flourishing.
Take recent IPO for Lyft, whose shares as of today are trading 35% below where they made their debut on the NASDAQ. I’ve helped take a company through an IPO and have first-hand experience of the craziness that exists as the organization prepares for this tremendous shift. You would think things would slow down a bit after the IPO. However, that’s not typically the case.
You now have to prove your worthiness to the Street every quarter for the rest of your life!
I advise my clients to slow down and pace themselves. There will always be another tomorrow to make money. However, you can’t buy your health back.
As each runner ran by, I noted how fit they were, especially those leading the race. No way did this happen overnight.
You don’t go out and run a marathon having never run before. You start with smaller runs and work your way up to a marathon.
Is your business in shape to win a marathon race against your biggest competitors? If not, what do you need to do to get into fighting shape?
It may seem overwhelming at first. However, anything is possible when you break things down into bite-size chunks.
There’s more than one way to win a race.
Some people were running to achieve their best time, while others were going for the crown. “Runners” were crossing the finish line in wheelchairs, while a gentleman ran through the tape wearing prosthetic running legs. One guy even crawled across the finish line. It’s truly a joy to see the human spirit at work.
In business, we get so caught up trying to find the perfect employee that we often overlook talent that isn’t quite what we expected. We look for people who check off all the boxes when instead we should be looking for people with a can-do spirit.
Perhaps it’s time to rethink your approach to hiring. Seek team members with winning attitudes and you’ll be well-positioned to win any race against your competition.
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