Swimming & How to Stay on Top in Business

by Pool Builders on 10-17-2005 in Articles

What else would I do first thing in the morning?

It's 5.50am when I jump into the pool. When the cool water hits my body I'm
instantly awake. Awake enough to think,

"why do I do this? I could still be in bed! Am I crazy ?"

Before you say "Yes," I can hear you asking too, "why DO you do this?"

Why? Because:

a) I've recognized a connection between my physical fitness and mental
alertness,

b) because it's a great way to start the day,

c) because living in cities, finding a pool has never been difficult and because

d) and this is the real reason - it allows me to eat doughnuts now and again!

But this particular morning was different, this morning I was to learn a valuable idea
about business..................

..............And it all started with learning.
Many years ago, when I was three or four my Mum and Dad saw my first attempts
to swim were an overhead thrashing action. They arranged for me to be taught the
stroke it most nearly resembled. That was freestyle, or front crawl.

Ever since, people have told me that I swim well and ever since those days when I
was knee high to a pair of water-wings there's very little I've changed about my
stroke. If I tell you that I've been 35 for over 20 years now, that'll give you an idea of
how long that's been!

Shock! Horrors! Innovation strikes!
Then one morning, not long , "Impact" - a health, fitness and lifestyle magazine -
dropped into my mailbox and everything changed. One article addressed swimming:
swimming crawl and specifically, recent discoveries about stroke effectiveness.
Implementing those changes let to two discoveries:

1) By amending three aspects of my technique my stroke rate was cut from 19 to
20 per length to a consistent 15-16..........without any reduction in speed. However I
play with those stats I can't make that less than a 20% improvement.

2) Even more interesting, the changes specifically contradicted the best practices
which I had learned all those years ago, practices which had been reinforced during
my High School years on the swimming team.

A new idea is born:
And this is what hit me like the unheated waters of a cold pool on a hot day: how
many of us are doing "the same old, same old" as our son Marcus says, without
paying any attention to what the universe has been teaching others in the
meantime? More to the point, what can you do?

What will you do next?
What are the "same old, same olds" which are handicapping your progress? Here, in
random order, are a few ideas which I hope will stimulate 20% better performance
by you and your organisation and help you achieve the ultimate accolade of being
considered a Sustainable Workplace:

1) Look at the most successful of your competitors to see what they are doing
differently from you.

2) If you're involved in manufacturing, look at your machinery and discover all the
innovations made by the maker since its acquisition. If subsequent improvements
have increased the output of the latest models by 100% while consuming half as
much energy, perhaps you'd better do some financial projections!

3) If you're involved in manufacturing, walk around your plant looking for piles of
part-completed product, bottlenecks representing opportunities for increased
productivity. Has new machinery generated different bottlenecks, somewhere else,
since the last time you noticed? ( PS Read Eli Goldratt's "The Goal" and see how that
affects your productivity!)

4) Review the statistics: the staff retention rates of each of your managers,
absenteeism, productivity trends, profitability trends, the degree to which your
people are happy at work etc. How have they changed?

(Did know there is a direct connection between your people's perception of YOUR
workplace and YOUR profitability, productivity, staff retention and customer loyalty?)

5) On which client are you spending vast amounts of time in return for no business
at all?

6) How well are you looking after yourself? Look for your emotional hot-buttons and
take steps to neutralize them so you and not your emotions are in control, both in
and outside of business.

7) Continue the list here, with your own ideas!!!!

My challenge to you today
And all that came from jumping into the swimming pool! Make sure that in your
area, you and your company not only 'keep in the swim' but lead it . The best way to
do that is to ensure that nothing, but nothing, becomes the "same old, same old"
ever again.
Take some time to sit down TODAY and create your own list of everything you are
taking for granted, overlooking. Don't just sit anywhere, go where you will not be
disturbed where the view is good, where your wellness and creativity are fed, but do
it and do it today!

.............and if you would like more questions, email me!

© Martin Sawdon, June, 2005.
This article may be freely used elsewhere as long as the author's name and website
are included.

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