Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pacing Yourself

Paco's turn to lead our conversation. He has been reading the Enders Game science fiction series and he picked a topic from it: pacing yourself. When you are faced with a challenge and you want to do your best, you must remember not to try so hard you burn out before you finish.

We spoke about swimming and running. Your strategy for a 100 meter sprint, a 5K and a marathon should be quite different. Ale mentioned how the breathing technique changes in swimming depending on the distance - the kicking technique does as well. So it is not just about the degree of effort but the approach as well.

I told the boys this was a common issues in start-ups, where we often work super hard. Start-ups are rarely, if ever, sprints. So pace is critical. As a leader, be it a manager or a coach, you must help your team members pace themselves. You can't push them too hard or even let them drive themselves too hard. And it is not just about a single race but about an entire season, or in some cases a multi year olympic campaign.

And while in sports we know the distance we are running (or swimming), in other circumstances we don't. Who knows how long it will take a start-up to succeed? We must be conservative and make sure we have plenty of "fuel in the tank", with some in "reserve". If it starts to look like the finish line is close, we can speed up and burn more gas, otherwise, the priority should be to finish the race. After all, and I know I am quoting someone, in order to win, you must first finish the race!

No comments: