Yesterday I ran my first half marathon race. The temperature was in the low 40s with winds 10-15 mph. The course layout was a four lane divided highway. We ran half the race length and then turned around and ran back up the other side. As luck would have it, the first half of the race was into the wind and second half was with the wind at my back. So you can imagine how happy I was to turn the corner and head back in the opposite direction. It was a big sling shot effect.
I didn’t wear a music device during the race, so it was me and my thoughts. The headwinds I faced in the first half of the race had me at about a 8 minute per mile pace. The struggle against the wind made me think of business headwinds that impede progress. In my career experience headwinds have been caused by market factors and the backside of a product life cycle that lead to year-over-year declining volumes. This type of headwind pressure erodes units and revenue so businesses must innovate to create new products or solutions.
Business has only two basic functions: marketing and innovation.” Because the purpose of business is to create something of value — that’s innovation — and then to share it with the world and inspire customers to buy it — that’s marketing. – Peter Drucker
Innovation isn’t easy, but when we get it right and can market a product or solution with success that becomes our tailwind. When I turned the corner in my half marathon race yesterday my pace quickened aided by the push of the wind. I finished the race with a per minute pace well below the 8 minute per mile pace I had in the first half. In business, when we have a market opportunities that give us success (tailwinds) we have to make sure to stride appropriately to take advantage of the situation. That may mean making adjustments to processes, organizational layouts, suppliers, or equipment to take advantage of the tailwind.
Oh by the way, my time was 1:45:49. Better than I expected!