Life Lessons from the Road: Be Mindful of the Middle

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It’s time we revisited that hackneyed piece of common wisdom which states, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.” When you are doing anything substantial, like running a marathon or a complex project – starting is easy, finishing is also surprising easy but dealing with the middle is what separates the medal winners from the also-rans. Continue reading “Life Lessons from the Road: Be Mindful of the Middle”

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Life Lessons from the Road: Use Goals to Drive your Journey

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When it comes to major undertakings, we’re often told “It’s a journey, not a goal.” However, I’d argue that goals are vital to ensure that you make progress on your journey – and I’ve got the data to back this up!

Working in the corporate world, I’ve been on the receiving end of major change management transformations – and in several cases I’ve been partially responsible for inflicting them on sizable chunks of the workforce.

Studies suggests that up to 80% of organisational change initiatives fail. I contend that one of the major reasons for this dismal performance is that we place all the emphasis on the journey at the expense of the goals. Goals give impetus to the journey and without goals your journey is likely to result in aimless wandering in the wilderness.

Who better to highlight the impact of goals on performance than 20,000 Comrades runners! Continue reading “Life Lessons from the Road: Use Goals to Drive your Journey”

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Little Rock Marathon, Arkansas, USA (A Little ‘Lost’ in the USA)

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(Marathon #67 / International Marathon #13 / 2 March 2008)

My standard process for entering US marathons involves looking at marathonguide.com’s calendar and figuring out (a) which marathons are still open for entry and (b) can be reached fairly easily with a flight re-routing. For this trip to the US, I had to do the marathon planning whilst on holiday in Japan, so I did my best navigating of the web that I could on a Japanese keyboard. I managed to get onto the marathonguide site and found the Little Rock Marathon, and saw that I could still enter and easily route my flights via “Little Rock, AR.”

Not being completely up to speed on American postal codes and state acronyms, I thought AR meant Arizona, so there I was thinking this would mean running in what I assumed would be distinctive desert terrain. I had never run in Arizona before and was really looking forward to the experience, and it therefore came as a bit of a shock to me when the pilot announced our imminent arrival in Little Rock, Arkansas! Continue reading “Little Rock Marathon, Arkansas, USA (A Little ‘Lost’ in the USA)”

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Life Lessons from the Road: It’s a Jog, not a Sprint

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Business agility has recently become a big buzzword in the corporate world. If you work for a large corporate there’s a good chance that you are currently part of a ‘business agility transformation‘. These are characterised by consultants throwing Japanese words around like ninja stars in a pot-noodle eastern* and lots of talk about sprinting and scrumming.

* as opposed to a spaghetti western.

The good news is that sprinting is really easy – even if the last time you did any running was in PE class at school when you were forced to. Everyone can manage a sprint: It’s a short burst of energy, after which you’re doubled over gasping for breath and can’t run any more. Continue reading “Life Lessons from the Road: It’s a Jog, not a Sprint”

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The Power of Decentralised Decision-Making (and how this helps create high performing teams)

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This article uses a department’s entertainment budget as a simple way to explain how the principle of decentralised decision-making should be applied at the team level. What’s more, you can expect teams to communicate and function better when it’s applied correctly.

Traditional “Project Cost Accounting” Scenario

Each department is allocated an ‘Entertainment Budget’, usually this is calculated as a Rand amount per staff member, e.g. R1,000 per staff member for a 200 person team which equals R200,000 to spend on entertainment for the year. Continue reading “The Power of Decentralised Decision-Making (and how this helps create high performing teams)”

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Race Relations: Cancellation Controversy in the time of Corona

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[This article was originally published on Sport24.co.za]

Following on from the in-depth look at the Comrades Marathon Association’s decision not to refund 2020 entrants, this article evaluates the ‘refund / no refund’ decisions of South Africa’s other large marathons and ultras who’ve been forced to cancel their 2020 events during the coronavirus pandemic.

READ: Money or the Goody Bag? The Great Comrades Refund Debate article.

 

Of the Big 5 ultra marathons, only Om Die Dam took place in 2020. The largest four ultra marathons have all been cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic with only Loskop being able to offer full refunds.
South Africa’s largest three marathons are all still planned for last quarter of 2020. The Wally Hayward Marathon is the only Big 5 marathon impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic to date but were able to offer the choice of a refund or deferred entry to runners.

Continue reading “Race Relations: Cancellation Controversy in the time of Corona”

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Every Feature Needs a Hypothesis

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In this article, I’ll use a simple, easily accessible example feature to show how a feature hypothesis should evolve and how monitoring results can impact our plan and backlog priorities.

I am going to stick with the “Password Reset” example from the previous article in this “Outcomes versus Outputs” series since resetting one’s own password can be applied to almost any website and application. Continue reading “Every Feature Needs a Hypothesis”

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Money or the Goody Bag? The Great Comrades Refund Debate

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[This article was originally published on Sport24.co.za]

At lunch time on 14 May, I was taking advantage of a gap between video calls by doing another lockdown run up and down my driveway.

As you can imagine, driveway laps are not particularly interesting and I welcome any distraction from the monotony. Therefore, every vibration on my phone results in an excited glance at the screen to see whatever notification has been delivered.

I was about 30 minutes into my regular 10km jog when the latest buzz presented the email notification, “Media Release: 2020 Comrades Marathon has been cancelled.

I didn’t even break stride. Continue reading “Money or the Goody Bag? The Great Comrades Refund Debate”

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