Competitive runners and triathletes are often coached not to look back over their shoulder to see where the competition is. “Look forward, and don’t lose focus.” I suppose you could argue that looking back will help you gauge how hard you need to push to win the race, but the reality is, you should be giving it everything you can at that moment in time and focus on doing your best. You also risk tripping, going off course, or being bested by someone approaching your blind spot.
In 1954, two collegiate track and field athletes faced off in the “Miracle Mile” to run a mile in less than 4 minutes. England’s Roger Bannister won the close race after John Landry looked over his left shoulder only to be passed on his right. Both finished under 4 minutes, but only one could be declared the winner.
As we close out 2020, I see many people saying Adios to the year with great expectations for 2021. I find it difficult to get too excited, yet what is to come in 2021. The race to stay ahead of the competition will be hard in 2021. Staying focused on business objectives, pushing boundaries, and being innovative, I believe, will be vital to staying with the leader pack. But if you want to win, it will take a clear vision for the future, discipline, and focus.
Some businesses and organizations will need to learn how to work together and be collaborative and achieve success. Harvard Business Review recently published an article “When to Work with Rivals” (HB.org Jan-Feb 2021). It is an excellent read for any business or organization that believes that they have a competitive advantage. In triathlon, the theory is to train with someone faster than you. When I was training for triathlons, I found that to be true and benefited from developing the muscle memory to get me across the finish line.
We are days away from a new year with numerous opportunities to collaborate, achieve success, outrun, and outwit the economic environment. I genuinely believe that.
But for goodness sake, don’t waste energy looking back only to trip over your own feet!