Insanity, Leadership and Running

As I was mentally preparing to run the Fargo Marathon this weekend, I came across one of my most favorite quotes: “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results” (often attributed to Albert Einstein).

Training for a marathon takes both time and commitment. It also takes a solid training plan and being able to stick to it. I’m not very good at that last thing, sticking to it. I like to run hard, fast and long, even if the plan says I should run short and take it easy at times.

This year I joined a running group. These runners are just as passionate, driven and dedicated as me, but most follow a plan. Joining the group has made a world of difference to me. Even when I’m not physically running with the group, I compare and align my training and performance to theirs. We’re doing this together and we’re sticking to the plan.

I work with leaders and teams, helping them to become more effective, focused and aligned. Most leaders and teams have a plan and they know what to do. But they often get busy, distracted, focused on performing individual tasks and completing projects on time rather than following the plan. They focus on their individual areas and goals and lose sight of organizational results.

Following the plan and achieving results takes discipline and commitment on every level. It takes clarity of vision, healthy conflict skills, commitment to goals across functional areas, and everyone holding each other accountable to their commitments. Only then can the team or company successfully execute on their strategy. Only then can the team build true magic and achieve the most important organizational goals.

The forecast for the marathon this weekend is for rain and 20-30 mph wind. Wish me luck!

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