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  • Travis Jacob

Fitness and Organizational Culture Part 3: When You Get off Track, Get back in the Right Direction

One of the best aspects of many newer communities is the design and focus on personal health and fitness together with a strong and healthy business community. When it comes to performance and success these factors go hand in hand. Personal performance is not only beneficial to your personal health, but it is beneficial to the health of your business or organization as well. This article is the third in a four part series on just four of the principles I have learned and teach from iron distance racing related to building and maintaining a winning culture in organizations.

Principle #3: When You Get off Track, get back in the Right Direction

Training for an iron distance race is a very long and tedious process. One of my mentors in the sport puts it this way, “The race is the reward for all the long, painful hours of training required to perform at your highest level.” Training for a race that consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run takes a great deal of focus, stamina, and dedication for five to six months leading up to race day. The word “no” becomes a normal part of your vocabulary. Friends and family members don’t understand why you can’t go out on Friday night, or why you are already asleep at 8:00pm on Saturday night because you need to recover and be ready for a 16 mile run Sunday morning when you just finished 7 hours of training earlier that day. The stress is not just physical, it’s a great deal mental as well. Following your training schedule becomes one of the most important aspects of your life during that time, but it doesn’t always go as planned. Things happen…life happens…and sometimes you just get off track. When one, two, or even three workouts are missed in a row it can be very easy to get frustrated, feel like you have lost all momentum, and give up. In times like these (and they will happen), when you get off track, you have to do what it takes to regain your focus and pick your training plan back up and keep going.

Likewise, when you are trying your best to focus on the culture of your organization by providing a great place for team members to work, distractions happen. Projects get in the way, busy work gets in the way, conflicts get in the way, deadlines get in the way. You get the point. In his book, The Principle of the Path, author Andy Stanley puts it this way- your direction, not your intention, determines your destination. We can have all the best intentions, but intentions get nowhere when we get off track by distractions. I understand that sometimes distractions are unavoidable. Things just come up that must be taken care of. That’s part of business and that’s not a bad thing. The danger is allowing distractions to become a way of life so to speak, and allowing them to keep you off track for long periods of time. You can tell when this happens because you will start hearing (and possibly telling yourself) phrases such as, “I was gonna…,” or “I meant to…,” or “We’ll get back to it someday.” These, and other similar phrases are paved all along the path of good intentions that leads to nowhere. If you have defined the culture that will help your organization thrive, set goals for that culture, and communicated that culture, the things you do every day (your direction) will either help you achieve or maintain that culture (your destination), or they will be taking you off track and in the opposite direction.

Yes, we all get off track at times. I get off track with my training schedule, I get off track in my business and you will get off track in your pursuit of trying to reach the “culture” goals in your organization. Just remember, it’s not the end of the world and it’s definitely not the end of what you are trying your best to do to build and maintain that winning culture. You will get off track, but when you do, get back in the right direction as soon as possible and keep building a culture that allows people to thrive.

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