Rip it up and start again?

Rip it up and start again?

This is a picture is of my surfboat rowing crew, AKA ‘The Warriewood Crustys’. (Back-off chicks, these roosters are all taken!)

We take competing seriously. Last season we won lots of medals – Bronze at the World Championships, Bronze at the Aussies, Silver at NSW State and several Golds at local events. That’s quite a haul – one that reflects hundreds of hours of training and serious dedication.

Back into it
We’re already bending the oar in preparation for season 2019/20 committed to doing even better. It would be easy to just carry on with what got us the bling.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” right?

WRONG! We are in Rip-it-up-and-start-again mode – taking our technique right back to basics as if we are just starting out. I love the seasons passage in Ecclesiastes 3 ‘There is a time for everything’. This addresses the many seasons of life and the wisdom in knowing which season we are in. One is,

‘a time to tear down and a time to build’

We are ‘tearing down’ in order to ‘build’. Build a more powerful stroke, a better crew and, ultimately, a faster, higher-performing boat.

What should you be tearing down?
Mid-year is a great time to be asking this question – of yourself and of your business? How are you going? Do you know? How?

In business and life, it’s easy to carry on carrying on. If we are succeeding, even moderately, we can be loath to critically examine what we could be doing better. Often, it’s only in response to complete failure that we take the time to re-assess; to pull down what we have built and to start again.

Periodically tearing down what we have built is a good thing
How many times have we seen a new competitor come into the market with new thinking, new technology and new energy? Kodak, Nokia, Blockbuster, even Foxtel are all examples and there are thousands of others.

To make sure we are continually evolving we must:

Be self-aware
How good are you really? Our rowing re-build started with an honest conversation that we had been good, but also fortunate. We could easily have missed out on medals. Our results were, to some extent, flattering to deceive.

Be prepared to go backwards before we go forwards
Breaking down what we do can often feel like going backwards, even failing. It’s rarely a seamless process of improvement – more failing-forward.

Challenge last-year-plus-a-bit thinking
Creating a new foundation for future performance and success is hard. Doing what we’ve always done is easier. There are many ‘analogue’ businesses trading on old momentum and old thinking that are horribly exposed in our ‘digital’ age.

Measure what matters
For a rather basic 6-metre fibre-glass boat, we actually use a lot of tech in our re-building process. Smart sensors measure speed, acceleration and run – all critical to ensuring that what we are building is actually better! Knowing your metrics that matter is critical.


Have a good look in the mirror
All of these principles apply as much to us as to the businesses we run or work in. We need to make sure we are doing the work on ourselves to stay current, relevant, valuable and ‘high performing’.

For many people I work with, that necessitates a personal transformation. As with the business, we need to make ourselves stand out in the digital age. We need to SHINE too.

I have no idea if we will succeed in our quest for medal glory? What I do know is that we are having a red-hot crack. We’re not scared to rip it up and start again.

At half way into 2019, I reckon this is a great rule to run across your team, your business and yourself.

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