This morning, I listened to inspirational teachings as I dressed after a morning walk-run. Walk-run is my term for building to a consistent running capacity.  Yes, I have two legs, good lungs, eyes, nose, mouth, and mobility.  That doesn’t mean I can take off running at full capacity.  It simply means I have the capability.  My endurance levels are not yet cultivated for full running.

Every sprinter must train to have that starting block capacity.

Jim is an entrepreneur who has great vision. He has experienced some successes yet is frustrated because he has not met his goal — “hit his stride”.  Jim is like many leaders. We may start with a few successes — a team that identifies new partners for initiatives, 3 or 4 clients for our products and services, a fundraising event with new investors, opportunities to speak at a conference.  Excitement kicks in and we think — I am ready to take off!  Sometimes it happens like that.  Most often it doesn’t.  Building capacity is a process.

I have two friends that went from life-focused non-running to life-living running.  Life-focused non-running is my way of addressing my couch tendencies. I am so busy on the computer, I forget to move.  How can I bring myself to write that I forget to move?  But it is true!  So focused on doing the work that I would find myself in one position for hours.  My body accommodates this insane request but when I try to finally move, it responds with painful stiffness.

My two friends always remind me.  Listen.  I know you want to just start off running, but be patient.  Walk and get moving first.  Then walk a little faster and get your lungs, your breath in synch.  You’ll soon walk fast most of the way, then you can add in a little jog at the end.  Just a short, quicker pace.  Keep going consistently and you’ll be running in no time.

It takes time to build the capacity needed to run an organization or a business.  Yes, you can learn a lot by doing. I call that sprint-sitting.  You start out of the gate like the wind. Then life’s experiences bring lessons that sit you down for a bit requiring that you pay attention, think through the process and recalibrate.  Sounds like the perfect time to focus on your vision, values, strategies, and processes.

  • Your vision is your dream goal. What do you want to achieve and why? What will it look like? What makes you different? Many leaders get the vision and run to operations, missing the critical building blocks.
  • Values are the foundational warm-ups for your culture and character.  We believe and live our values. Values cultivate lung capacity (sustainment) and how you will move through life (relate).
  • Strategy sets intention, commitment and partnerships.  It is the ‘How” of the vision.  How we or our products will serve others.  It guides who we will collaborate with and how values are integrated in the experience.
  • Processes bring efficiencies to our strategies and creates time for more visionary thinking. Creating a process supports consistency for the client or customer.  They can count on you, because you have a practical method.  Doesn’t mean it’s not innovative or creative.  It means you are consistent.

Build your inner capacity and watch your goals become well defined realities. Ready to run?