Last Sunday, April 9th, the 41st edition of the “Marathon de Paris” took place. It was a beautiful journey that severely tested the physical and mental capacities of 43,754 runners over a distance of precisely 42.195 kilometers. And every runner knows that endurance is the key to success when facing such a challenge.
Of course, physical preparation is a must to be able to run for more than 42 kilometers with the singular goal of crossing the finish line. There are plenty of difficulties : changes of terrain (concrete, paved roads, small paths…), weather changes, inclines that drain your energy, downhill slopes that increase your speed and most likely impact your personal timing, dehydration, congested supply lines…Well, a marathon is a series of personal and collective challenges to overcome without being out of breath.
It can seem like a similar situation to managers, and more precisely for Interim Managers. The number of challenges a Manager may face in his professional life is almost infinite. To know how to create and innovate at the right moment, to be inspiring for his teams and associates, to manage conflicts and crisis management, to put into place a job saving plan, to hire necessary profiles for competitiveness development… To master all these skills, one same quality is needed : endurance. Without endurance, a manager could quickly burn-out or develop a paralyzing level of stress.
How to develop endurance?
It’s all about benefitting from other people’s experience, as well as our own. A runner can’t learn to run 42.195 kilometers overnight. Physical endurance can only be strengthened over time, with a individually tailored training program. A manager will know how to work on his personal abilities by stages. First, he learns how to handle teams and then individuals on a one on one basis. He learns how to deal with small crises right now, to then know how to handle bigger ones tomorrow. He also learns how to anticipate : he prepares his next steps in advance when all is well and is careful not to go too fast so as not to stumble or quickly lose his breath.
The Interim Managers’ strength also resides in his perpetual experience. Each new mission is an occasion to apply what his experience taught him, but also to keep expanding it. This is how Interim Managers distinguish themselves as a real asset for the company. They are men and women who are leaders in their field of expertise, and constantly upgrade their personal and professional skills. The time between missions is a moment for them to analyze their newly acquired skills, to improve their managing style, to train themselves to master new tools, and consult with their peers about the challenges they faced. If a marathon runner needs to find his rhythm, then a manager must find the “pulse” of the mission in just a few days to guarantee a constant growth and positive results dynamic.
Paul Lonyongata, this year’s winner of the “Marathon de Paris” said, “I felt fine, it wasn’t too hot or too cold, the organization was perfect.” To feel good is also a key to endurance! An efficient manager knows how to transform uncomfortable situations into comfort zones, at least during the time necessary to achieve his goals.
One of the most touching lessons of this 41st edition of the “Marathon de Paris” is that unity makes us stronger. Purity Rionoripo, Paul Lonyongata’s wife, won the race in the women’s category. A united and winning duo! No doubt, success is contagious and must be shared. Managers know it well, their teams benefit of their experience, and contribute to their success.
It is the humility in the sharing of knowledge and experience that at the end of the day brings collective success!