Before I start, I warn you this is more of a thinking out loud piece rather than anything else.
Anyway, as i was browsing my store of articles and notes for future blog posts i came across a scanned article from my friend Paul Robertson of On-Up that he sent me a while ago.
The article was written by Steve McClure, a professional climber, for Climbing Magazine in late 2011. Reading the article there was a passage (below) that struck me as particularly interesting and applicable to the world of business.
“A basic theory of life, the universe and everything states that if an animal or human is tired, it needs to have a rest. Try anything continuously and you’ll have to stop and rest. Even nearly zero physical activity – like lying down in front of the TV – eventually becomes too much. If you try a little harder and you’ve actually broken some muscle down, it needs a rest to recover again. The intriguing principle behind this is that we only get stronger at a given exercise whilst not actually doing it.”
Resting is a hugely important part of performance improvement in sport.
Train. Rest. Train. Rest. Compete. Results. Review. Reflect. Repeat.
That seems to be the process of performance improvement in sport.
In business, the process can seem more like:
Compete (Train in downtime or on the job). Results. Review. Reflect. Repeat.
Not much rest in there, is there?
So, is there something that we can learn from this to help us improve our businesses?
Thinking about that kicked up a lot of additional questions for me including:
- Is the comparison of sport and business, with respect to performance improvement, a valid one?
- Does it fall down in this case because sport is an inherently inwardly focused activity and isn’t always competing whilst business is externally focused and always competing?
I think that it may be a poor comparison but I still wonder if we can apply the training and resting process better in our businesses to improve our performance.
My question(s) are as follows:
- In an ever accelerating business world where everything is always on could we include ‘rest’ somehow and improve our performance?
- Are we trying too hard sometimes? All of the time? Like the sportsman that trains all of the time and doesn’t incorporate ‘rest’ into their programme resulting in their actual performance going down.
So, why don’t we ‘rest’ in business?
Is it due to our impatience for results? And, the idea that we don’t give new initiatives enough time to settle in and start producing results that we can properly evaluate before we move onto something else?
Could patience be our ‘rest’? Can we go slower in order to go faster?
Could there be truth in the old saying: “More speed, less haste”, implying that if we try to do things too quickly, it will take us longer in the end?
What do you think?