Insights are often unveiled in casual conversations we have with clients, colleagues or friends – a point in time where both parties realise this is important stuff, and most people are struggling with it. These insights don’t wait for formal engagements – they happen over coffees and on couches. Our ‘couch coffees’ is a continuing series of posts where we’ll publish some of these insights – simple, short and sharp. They might be second nature to some; for others, they might be closer to epiphanies. For most, we hope they’re simply nudges in the right direction.
We heard this from a prospective client who we’ve been chatting to the other day: “There’s one rule that applies to endurance sport and strategy implementation alike: Don’t stop.” What a brilliant piece of advice. Although we aren’t formally working together (yet!), they understand some of the fundamentals of successful strategy implementation.
The one rule for strategy implementation: Don’t stop
If you’ve ever done some endurance event (running has been mine), you’ll understand the energy of the starting line. It’s the national anthem, a traditional firing of the canon, the legendary songs, all the supporters and a cloud of witnesses, bystanders and onlookers. Everyone has the energy to start, and no one starts with an explicit aim of not finishing.
But the truth is, not everyone finishes. During a marathon, there’s a “wall” that hits and places your ankles squarely in a block of cement at around 35km. During The Comrades Marathon, a ~90km race, they tend to say that the race starts at 60km.
At this stage, don’t stop.
In OKR language, we’ve called it the second cycle slog. Everyone on their strategy implementation journey starts with a lot of energy for a few months, and then it wanes as the results aren’t what you expected and the changes aren’t coming quick enough. At this stage, don’t stop.
It’s not always about the destination. I did an ultramarathon in Jerusalem in 2019, which was arguably the best run I’ve ever done. I believe the reason was that there was no pressure to get to the end – no supporters waiting for me and no friends who wanted to compare times. Which resulted in me enjoying the run and making the most of the incredible scenery, the company of the other runners, the Nutella sandwiches, the warm soup and what I believe to be challah (but who knows!).
Endurance events build camaraderie. It makes a team stronger. Sometimes the team will be in stride; other times someone will struggle to keep up or go on ahead. Some team members will fall off. In the end, a stronger team will stand at the finish line. Whatever happens, don’t stop.
If you have questions, we’re always keen for coffee.
Get in touch so that we can brainstorm a few solutions together!