40:00 – 4.25 miles

Ford MustangIn order for a company to succeed it needs to evolve. Even established entities, no matter if they’ve been operating for over 100 years, needs to evolve. Industries and customers’ expectations evolve over time so those that wish to reach them must as well. Cars, computers, services, stores, and media all need to change as the world alters it’s expectations.

In order to move to the next phase, you have to know were the highway (market) is. Once you find the highway, then you have to take the onramp to join. This phase involves building a product, putting together services, creating marketing materials, and preparing to get in traffic. After you are on the highway, it’s all about keeping the wheel straight and executing. Sometimes you’ll have to slow down or switch lanes to avoid obstacles, but keep moving forward.

I see companies struggling in 2 places once on the highway. The first is that they are constantly moving from lane to lane, sometimes up on the curb, and even trying to jump over to a neighboring highway. There are times this is necessary due to a market being dried up or experiencing significant loss. Generally, it’s a lack of focus and direction that causes this. Just as driving on a highway, if you start getting in reactive mode, you are in trouble. With the pedal to medal, swerving in and out of traffic will ultimately lead to a crash. You need to pick your course and stick with it for more then a couple months. The timeframe varies based on what’s being offered, but need to give things time to see if it works. Cars don’t go from zero to 100 mph in 1 second … not yet at least.

The second place I see companies struggling is that they hold back. This is the annoying slow person in the left lane getting in people’s way because they’re out for a Sunday drive (do people still do that?). They talk a big talk because they’re in the left lane where the big players drive, but not really doing anything. They’re sitting back waiting to see what others do. If you’re in the left lane, you should be leading. You should not be waiting. Drive the market and make a change. Look in the rearview, you may be holding back a lot of opportunity and talent.

Once a company can put aside their ego and accept they need to change, that’s when they can start talking about the next phase. Frees them up to step back and look at the ways they can take advantage of all the resources available so there can be more talk around what’s next. The best time to look forward is when things are good. Provides a clear mind to plan for the right direction.

Today I decided to move my running to the next phase. It started with a simple phrase: All training runs will be faster then 10 minutes/mile pace. For me, that is my next phase. I know I can move on my feet for 14 hours, but now I want to see how far I can go. There will certainly be some uncomfortable times ahead, but it is part of evolving. Even though I ran my first half marathon 4 years ago, it’s time to start over. Take all of the experiences, knowledge, and tips I give new runners, and start over as if it’s my first time. This will mean some shorter distances, but will build back up quickly because I know the battlefield well. Looking forward to the next phase.

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