Over the past several years, Chattanooga has gained a strong reputation for attracting endurance races. From running, cycling, and triathlons, these athletes are an incredible testament to the power of preparation, endurance, and willpower. My favorite of these races though has to be the Ragnar. This nation-wide brand puts on hundreds of races across the country and one of them goes from Downtown Chattanooga to Nashville, TN. Climbing over Monteagle Mountain in the middle of the night, this race lasts over a 24-hour period covering 200 miles. Teams of 6 or 12 split the course and run varying distances, elevation gains, and times of day and night. The craziest part of the race is that most of the teams genuinely seem to be enjoying themselves. They dress up in costumes, cheer each other on from vans, and celebrate with cold beer and delicious food at the end. It’s incredible!
There’s an old African Proverb: if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go farther, go together.
There are moments in life and in business where we have to go fast: when completing a task, getting through a busy day, or sprinting to finish an important project before a deadline. Those times are necessary and vital to your business and I don’t want to overlook the importance of those moments. Even the best sports teams require a last-minute drive or a buzzer-beater at times.
But what’s more important: the immediate results or the long-term health of your business?
For example, I love to go hiking with my friends. When we go though, I have to intentionally stay in the back., otherwise I’ll set a pace that’s unrealistic for everyone else, tiring everyone out quicker, and causing the group to take more breaks and slow up our pace for the day.
As a leader, you can set lofty expectations, ask for fast deadlines, try to move your team at your pace, and drag them along in the process. But you might find yourself looking back and dragging a bloody stump.
The team you work with is vital to the long-term health and success of your organization. Great leaders understand that while the short game might get results, the long game will keep your business thriving for a long time.
Your team is your most important asset. You hired them to share the load and run the relay, not the solo race. The value of appreciating your team will pay dividends no matter what season your business might be in. They aren’t dispensable expenses. Their contributions will make or break your legacy and your longevity.