I had the opportunity this past week to visit Denver, Colorado. I was in business strategy meetings Wednesday – Friday with 30 other North American Dale Carnegie Franchisees and had the opportunity to take a deep dive into increasing profitability through controlling the ever increasing fixed costs. That was the boring part of the trip. Strategic thinking in growing our business was the fun and intense, and ultimately, the rewarding part of the meetings. Forget the meetings for now; allow me to share a fitness activity and what I learned. Saturday, I took a hike deep into the Rocky Mountains and fortunately had two native Colorado mountaineers with me.
I realized I was in trouble after the 90 minute drive from downtown Denver into the mountains. I got out of the car and clearly was not dressed nor prepared for the excursion. The first think I noticed is that I was the only person sporting a pair of Asics running shoes while everyone else was putting on professional looking hiking boots…hmmm. Next, I felt the almost 28 degree drop in temperature. It fell from 95 degrees in downtown Denver to 66 degrees at our “base camp.” Just the name “base camp” was another realization that I was out of my element. To make matters worse in how unprepared I was, everyone had a backpack; I had nothing. What was I thinking!? Oh yea, my two guides had me covered with funny looking smirks on their faces. In their back packs were the following items…water, rain gear, lightweight jackets, walking sticks, first aid kits, and other survival equipment. Little did I realize we were going to need all of the above within the hour…smile.
We started at 10,000 feet and before we reached 12,000 feet I was exhausted and dehydrated thankfully we had water. It started to rain about 45 minutes and then hailed for 10 minutes at the hour mark… smile. Again the only think I did right is I had two unbelievable mountaineer guides who provided me a poncho and a jacket when needed. Oh… but the beauty was breath taking and I did survive. The most scare moment came when I was almost taken out by a mountain biker flying down the trail moving at a high rate of speed and looking very relaxed. This was amazing to me because by now I had a walking stick and saw that every step was either avoiding a rock, a log, a stump, and or a ditch how could a mountain bike survive?
Ah ha…I had a leadership moment! Lisa Grasnek, one of my Guides and the Dale Carnegie Franchisee in Denver, Colorado who is also an enthusiastic outdoor hiker, skier, and biker explained to me that the key to survival in downhill mountain biking. It is all about Focal Length.
A mountain biker cannot look directly down to see what is immediately in front of them. They will crash every time. It is in developing the ability, confidence, and skill to stay focused and look as far down the trail as possible to make the necessary adjustments. This is also the key for Level 5 Leaders. Too often, due to stress and the immediacy of what is happening now, our daily focal length shrinks. We now feel like we are a fire fighter and never seem to accomplish the actions that will advance our business.
Action Point: This week, take time every day and stretch your focal length see out a week, month, quarter, a year and beyond. Watch how that impacts your daily responses to the fires.
Learning Point: When you are going hiking, take a few moments and think through preparation. Always have a good map and when possible, take a professional guide…smile!
Human Relations Principle of the Week:
Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
– Dale Carnegie