In March this year, for the first time in approximately 40-years, I started running. Given the sedentary nature of being a magazine editor—hours spent at a desk each day—it began as a life extension tactic but has now evolved into a wonderful pastime that I share with family and friends.
On the surface, the positive benefits are what anyone would expect: weight loss, improved heart and lung capacity, muscle tone etc. However, nine months in, I’ve realized there is much more going on under the surface.
According to my research, every time my foot hits the ground a force up to three times my weight permeates my body. Basically, every cell is getting ‘shaken alive’ from the inside out. I can feel organs, bones, ligaments and tendons getting a thorough workout, second-after-second. Each shock is a tiny, harmless reminder for my body to grow stronger and more resilient. During a 10k run, that’s 10,000 opportunities for my body to learn.
The more I think about this—and there is plenty of time to think while running—the same logic applies to ‘running’ a business. Every day, every employee, department, process and supplier will face multiple challenges. No matter how small or frequent these challenges are, each one is an opportunity for a business to learn and improve.
Provided systems exist for employees to record these challenges, innovate solutions and deploy their findings, there is no doubt in my mind such businesses will be running ultra marathons in no time.