Tuesday, November 20, 2012

lonely runner and employee engagement

So, I’m doing a lot of running.
Not long distance, but it sure feels that way sometimes.

A few weeks ago, I ran in the Sydney Bridge Run, a 9km course across the deck of the Harbour Bridge, past Hyde Park, finishing in the Botanical Gardens. Were you there?

When we were all lined up, ready to go, the music was blaring, the announcer kept everyone pumped, last minute adjustments, people calling out 'Run like you stole something!' and 'Good luck, random stranger!'

Annnnd, we’re off! A bit of argy bargy, bit of getting the kinks out, finding the rhythm and suddenly you’re on the Harbour Bridge with thousands of people ahead and behind, running along…

In silence…

No cheer squad, no music. Just pounding away.

That’s not fun.

For 8k’s, that wasn’t fun. At all.

Then near the end, the crowd had built up, people were cheering us on, clapping, encouraging. Did I run a little faster? Did I speed up for the finish line? Did I find some extra little reservoir of energy that I would have bet I didn’t have?

Yes. Yes, I did.

Why did I do that?

I think when you see people being affected by what you’re doing, that they actively want you to succeed, that they’re watching and encouraging you… it feels different than being alone and wondering what the hell made you sign up for a ‘fun’ run anyway?

Okay, my own willpower and commitment got me across the line, but the encouragement of the crowd made me want to get there faster and it put a smile on my face and it made me want to do it again.

Who’s in your business right now, facing a long slog with no cheer squad? Where would a little bit of encouragement help someone lift their game and increase employee engagement?

See you on the Bridge next year!

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