Once again I’m drawing parallels between my running and my views on change management and engagement.
I’m training at the moment for my first marathon, Amsterdam marathon in mid-October, and following a 17 week training plan to prepare. Having ramped up my mileage over the last 6 weeks to running around 26 miles a week, this week’s plan had much shorter runs – and a total of just 14 miles run. Its billed as a recovery week and I’ve found it incredibly frustrating, I’ve been restless from only running short distances, I’ve wondered what it adds to my training, and I’ve rebelled twice and run further than I should have. But I recognise now that it has given me the space to recover physically and also forced me to reflect on why I started this and what I want to achieve. My frustration this week has served as a timely reminder of how far I have come in my training and how motivated I am to get that 26 miles under my belt. As a result I’ve ended the week feeling re-energised and ready to step it up over the next two months leading up to race day.
This realisation got me thinking about how the same approach works with other long term projects. Universities traditionally have a reading week, or consolidation week. Granted, most students take the opportunity to take a break, rather than consolidate learning, but the principle is the same – its an opportunity to take a step back, re-establish purpose and come back ready to rock.
So why don’t we see the same approach taken in project management? The simple answer of course is time and resource. Planning in a week to not work on a project is a brave, and potentially expensive strategy. But the opportunity to step away and simply glance at a project out of the corner of your eye carries vast potential to reflect, spot issues that are hard to see when you are in intense delivery mode, re-evaluate progress and engagement, and re-invigorate a team ready to move forward. I’d be willing to bet that, in many cases, it would be well worth the investment to plan in a consolidation week in terms of ongoing focus and drive and, ultimately, quality of delivery. Are you brave enough to try it?
Looking for answers to those elusive questions? Join me a for a free three-hour Street Wisdom mindfulness experience in Birmingham (8th September), Warwick (9th September) or Leamington Spa (10th September). Book your place here