Management Lessons ? Running and management are two activities that a prior are not related, but that nevertheless keep an important number of parallels whose knowledge can enrich us enormously.
In this article I have tried to shed several of the ideas that have assaulted me as I ran during the last year, and that at the time they were going to give shape to a book…
The title, deliberately media, has its origin in a book project that will not finally see the light, and in which I have been working discontinuously for a little more than a year. The reason? The usual suspects : lack of time, focus … and above all, two new books ( whose subject will not be alien to the readers of the blog ) in which I am beginning to work together with some other new management believer ( in the future , more information !). This is one of the system of Management Lessons.
Because of this I have thought that it is better to publish a very summarized approach of some of the parts that gave form to the work, and that, in spite of being in a very embryonic stage , I believe that they can contribute some useful idea .
Serve as a release (or as a statement of intent) that I am passionate about running. I usually joke that I started running to take care of myself and be healthy, and yet now I run to think. it ‘s “my creative moment” , from where Many of the articles in this blog have emerged and, therefore, one of the parts that I value most in my life. In fact, one of my favorite books is the great ” Of which I speak when I speak of running ” by Haruki Murakami , and that manages to combine in a single work two of my main passions: running and writing. This is one of the system of Management Lessons.
I believe that running is one of the best and most recommendable activities in which anyone can spend their time, especially if it is someone with the imperative obligation to think long-term: it allows to discharge adrenaline , tones the body, loads us with energy and besides, and once you’re a little fit, it offers you a space of time in which to forget the body ( embarked on a strenuous and mechanical activity ) and let our mind wander …
Finished this argument , I think the most convenient is to enter the substance of the article: What heck has to do management with such a healthy exercise ?. I think that in reality there are many parallels that we can find between both activities and that can contribute a lot to the discipline of management. This is one of the system of Management Lessons.
The best way to learn to run … is to run . It is not enough just to read books, attend theoretical courses or philosophize about the activity. In the world of management happens in a similar way: we insist on reading a thousand books (eye, I’m a fan of this activity .. but not only her), in attending theoretical courses in which we discuss success stories of different companies happened in absolutely different circumstances to ours. Would not it be much better to learn from “cases of failure”? The other day my friend Antoni Flores said a phrase with which I feel very identified. This is one of the system of Management Lessons.
but it is important to plan our training. It is not about obsessing about making an exhaustive theoretical plan to undertake training, detailed, formal and structured in the old way … It is about reflecting on: WHAT we want to achieve, what TIME we manage and with what resources we have. In the business world the same thing happens … there are people who are obsessed with meticulous strategic planning that tries to capture an unknown reality and model it .. what is impossible. I am not saying that it is not necessary to plan, but it is undoubtedly more important to EXECUTE.
It is better to run looking forward , towards the horizon line than at our own feet. The fact of looking forward not only favors a better stance to run, but also encourages keeping a pace appropriate to the circumstances of the future terrain. In companies, as a result of an approach of the figure of the manager in my opinion wrong , we tend to be obsessed with short-term results, without taking into account the importance of the long term (root cause, among other current economic problems) … yes, keeping an eye on the day to day! This is one of the system of Management Lessons.
Surround yourself with people better than you to run (if you can) … only this way you will progress . It is much more complicated than running alone, since you will be pushing your limits daily. Running is just a good occasional exercise, since it enhances introspection and strategic thinking (later we’ll talk more about this), but without a doubt what pushes your physical level the most is running with people better than you. In the company, the same thing happens, we tend to surround ourselves with an army of clones that, although they can surpass us, they will be careful not to show it. A better team than you, different and very diverse (in all aspects of the word) will undoubtedly significantly improve the results of the organization … although it will be much more difficult to manage. The other day I heard the phrase. This is one of the system of Management Lessons.
Get used to running on different terrains and slopes. One of the main traps in which every runner ever falls is self-indulgence: one gets used to running the same distance, at the same speed and on the same ground every day … which makes it to be faced with a different route (in intensity, slope … etc) is unable to address it with solvency. This is very similar in the world of the company: we usually work in the same sectors, exploiting the same clients and without really making a credible effort to innovate (in the best case, small incremental innovations that do not require take a chance) We have to reinvent ourselves.
If you start running at full speed, the normal thing is that you get off early . It is better to start gradually, analyzing the sensations of the race and, once the warm-up exercise has been done and the physical state known, it is time to give everything. In most companies we operate like this with the launch of new products or lines of business: we spend a lot of time on extensive business plans that predict how customers we do not know will react, and when we launch, we do it with all the means and investing a lot of resources. And if instead of focusing on this, we plan the important elements of the business plan (the analysis, rather than the formal part) and start in a basic and cheap way, proving that the hypotheses on which our projections are based are correct?
A slipper or a next-generation heart rate monitor will not make you run better . Some of the best athletes in the world run barefoot … and we invest a considerable part of economic resources in sneakers ?. The important thing is to run. In companies, instead of obsessing (and investing accordingly) in our unique value proposition, what we do is buy the most advanced (and expensive) tools … will not it be better to look for the ones we really need and the rest to invest it? in improving our value proposition?