Adventure Racing Lessons for Your Career – Lesson 2: have a plan on how you’ll meet the goal, and adjust when needed.
This continues my series on my first adventure race, and lessons you can apply to strategically manage your career. Lesson 1 was to Have a Goal, Agreed by the Team.
Lesson 2: Have a plan on how you’ll meet the goal, and adjust when needed.
After a race briefing, teams had 30 minutes prior to the start of the race. Teams use this time to strategize on their route, plot the first checkpoint and generally figure out what they’re doing, or wonder what they’ve gotten themselves into. Being newbies, our team didn’t realize that there was no way we’d come close to achieving the total number of checkpoints. We had a tough bunch of competitors – marathoners, triathletes, mountain bikers, runners, former high school sports stars, etc. We determined that our strategic advantage would be that we’re familiar with the area. It was definitely not going to be our athletic ability, and our training had been pretty light compared to what the race would entail. We’d get a head start by knowing exactly where we were going for the first few checkpoints, then we’d figure out the rest of the plan from there. Hmmm, as they say, FAIL!
We lost our early advantage when we failed to notice an item that we were supposed to take with us to a future checkpoint, which we discovered when we arrived at that checkpoint, and the item we were missing was needed to complete the task. There was a time limit on this segment of the race, so we had to quickly backtrack to previous points, figure out and grab the missing item, and get back to the checkpoint and complete the task. Sticking with nearby checkpoints, we completed the Paddling leg via a couple miles of canoeing and several checkpoints. Onto the ropes course (see Lesson 1). After the ropes we realized we had about 2 ½ hours remaining, and had collected about ¼ of the checkpoints. This is when we realized we’d be happy to complete about half, and we revised our plan to include the checkpoints we felt were the most achieveable, and exclude others. If we didn’t adjust the plan, we’d end up too far from the finish line.
Lessons for your career:
Be observant, pay attention to what’s going on around you. We were so focused on the goal of punching our passport at the checkpoint, we missed, and watched other teams miss, key elements. There’s a reason for the saying “don’t lose the forest through the trees”. As you’re reaching toward your goals, even when you’re just starting out, remember to look for those things that can help you, and keep your view on the big picture.
Build your skills: I know people who have focused in only one area in one job, and neglected building other skills. When a new opportunity comes up, the person who has built both depth and breadth will be better positioned. If you think about your career as an adventure race, it doesn’t help you to be only a good runner if success depends on you knowing how to orienteer using only a compass and map in addition to running from point to point quickly. Running fast in the wrong direction isn’t going to get you anywhere, except off-track faster.
Next post: Lesson 3: Help Others Along the Way
It is “technology in HR week” for me. “HR Bloggers: Who are these people and why should I care?” was a panel session at the SHRM annual conference (Society of Human Resources Management, for those of you not in HR), which I attended via web streaming. It was a good session and really has me thinking about HR blogs, tweets, and how to add the most value as an HR professional via my blog. You can see the replay and additional commentary on Fistful of Talent.
I’m usually an early-adopter when it comes to technology, but this session made me realize that there’s a lot left to learn. Fortunately, I had just received an invitation to “Tweet Twaining”, so I decided to round out the blogging topic by setting aside my doubts about Twitter and seeing what the experts are saying.
Here are the key things I learned that I want to share with you –
The “HR Bloggers” panel was moderated by China Gorman, COO of SHRM, and included these experts on HR Blogging: Kris Dunn from HR Capitalist, Jessica Lee from Fistful of Talent, Laurie Ruettimann from Punk Rock HR, and Lance Haun from Your HR Guy. Key points I took from the session:
· Just do it - Kris Dunn from HR Capitalist talked about how he started by committing to write a post every single day for a year, and recognize that in doing that, he’d have some good posts and some not-so-great posts, and that’s ok. You’ll get better at it, they’re not all going to be perfect. Lance Haun emphasized that you have to engage at a level that works for you and your other responsibilities, so he posts less frequently. Both of them are right.
· Join the community – I think it was Jessica Lee over at Fistful of Talent, who advised that the best way to get started is to engage in the community. Start by lurking, then commenting, and become part of the social media scene that way. Or do a guest blog as another way to get your message out, without starting your own blog.
· Seek help from others – the panelists encouraged the audience to learn from others, as that’s how they started out.
· I realized that a lot of this advice applies to traditional networking too, so I’ll draw some parallels in a future post.
From the “Tweet Twaining”, a good introductory session on Twitter from Geoff Peterson:
· Pay attention to your profile – carefully select your username, post a professional picture and write your profile with purpose.
· Twitter has value in business – frankly, I suspected this, but wasn’t convinced until the training. 32 million current users, according to Geoff. I still think business use is in the early stages and evolving, albeit very quickly.
· There are a lot of tools out there which can help you use it effectively – too many to highlight here, better to go straight to the source and follow Geoff.
So, here we go… follow me on Twitter and join me on my learning curve! (Thanks to my colleague, Shaazia, for the tips in HP’s blogger forum on how to add the Twitter link, and to Mumu over at another tech company who suggested that I might consider adding Twitter to my approach.)
I welcome your advice and tips on how to make the most of social media in helping you discover HP. Leave me comments with your advice and become part of the conversation.