Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hockey Sticks & Flywheels

Yesterday's post regarding a split life, I feel, cleared the way to talk freely about all aspects of my life. It represents the knee in my personal hockey stick. What? You know the inflection point where it takes off up and to the right. A past boss described my performance that way. He wasn't sure for the first couple months about his hiring decision and then he just watched the progress unfold.

The past few months have been spent churning things around internally about an online presence. While at the same time I have been following people; 140+ on Twitter and 30+ blogs. This has given me an decent lay of the land in Web2.0 space and created a good foundation or base from which to speak from. During this time an outsider would have seen little of significance from me. This being the blade of the stick; nearly horizontal with some slight positive slope.

Concentrating on the foundation develops a stable platform to launch everything else from. I have personally experienced this from iron distance racing. Iron-distance athlete, Jim Collins uses a similar example of a flywheel in his book "Good to Great."

"Then at some point - breakthrough! The momentum of the thing kicks in in your favor, hurling the flywheel forward, turn after turn...whoosh! its own heavy weight working for you!

Being a closet triathlete artificially limited the amount that I felt I could say. Jim Collins points out that "good-to-great transformations never happen in one fell swoop." Acknowledging all dimensions of my life enables me to more efficiently spin the flywheel. I still see work in front of me. I also don't think that if I had a posted this four months ago the other work could have been ignored. The base is still needed.

Each year the base needs to be rebuilt. This is true in either triathlon or business. December is the end of the year and the typical time for reflection. It also offers the opportunity to look forward to the New Year and the changes that are necessary.

How big is your base? What would it take to knock you off balance? What are you going to do differently in the upcoming year to improve?

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