Welcome to the September 2008 issue of Alignment Solutions! This month’s theme is “rest and re-energize.” Although it may seem counterintuitive to advocate for rest given that summer is over, kids are back in school, and organizations are gearing up for the last quarter of what for many has been a dismal year, I contend that the timing is right on target. I use my current and past experience in training for a marathon to illustrate this point. What does training for a marathon have to do with optimizing business results? More than you might think!
In the Feature Article, What a Marathon Can Teach Us about Business, we use training for a marathon and raising funds for cancer research to illustrate the parallels between successful outcomes in endurance events and in the workplace.
In Take a Break for Optimum Performance, the Business Solutions section suggests some ways to ensure you and your employees maintain the energy they need to perform at their optimum levels throughout the day.
In the Personal Solutions section, Time Outs: The Secret to Optimal Performance describes a technique that helps you re-energize yourself on a day-to-day basis.
Personal note: My theme this month was inspired by my decision to train for my seventh marathon and raise money for cancer research through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program. I will be walking the Honolulu marathon on December 14, 2008. If you would like to join me in the fight against blood-related cancers (leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma), please visit my Team in Training web site at http://pages.teamintraining.org/los/honolulu08/plynch and help me “Save lives…one mile at a time” by making a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Thank you!
I invite you to visit my web site at www.BusinessAlignmentStrategies.com to find other articles and resources that may be of value to you and your colleagues. I welcome your feedback!
What a Marathon Can Teach Us about Business
What can training for a marathon teach us about optimizing business results? Plenty! My experience in walking six marathons (and now in training for my seventh!) and raising money for cancer research through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program has provided me with a template for achieving optimal results in other aspects of life, including the workplace. Here are the key elements of this training and fundraising template:
Some of the above elements may seem counterintuitive to optimizing business results, especially in a “down” economy such as the one the U.S. is experiencing right now. My contention, however, is that they actually are critical success factors in achieving desired outcomes. For a side-by-side comparison of the application of these elements to Team in Training marathoners and to managers and employees, please see the appendix to this article on my web site. For now, let me address briefly two elements that often go by the wayside when organizations face tough times: taking time to rest and re-energize, and celebrating successes.
Just as marathoners must rest their muscles on a regular basis to avoid overuse injuries that would prevent them from completing their races, employees need a break from job-related stress if they are to perform at optimum levels. Athletes know that sufficient physical and mental rest is critical not only to maintaining, but to increasing their performance over time. This same concept applies in the workplace: neither employees nor organizations are well served when those who make decisions are burned out and feel stressed. Illness, increased absences, and dysfunctional turnover are other undesirable consequences when employees are not permitted to refresh themselves physically and mentally.
Another key element to optimizing business results is celebrating successes, including progress made in achieving final goals. Just as the mile markers along the course let marathoners know (and celebrate!) how many miles they have completed, your creating small “wins” along the way enables employees to see that they are making progress and motivates them to continue their quest to achieve organizational goals. So the next time they make progress (i.e., reach another mile marker) and especially when they cross a finish line, be sure the crowd cheers!
For further discussion of how to help energize your employees, see the Business Solutions section of this newsletter.