Sunday, August 7, 2016

Using boundaries to succeed

As part of my summer reading, I came across the 1911 story of the expedition race to the sourth pole between Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott (in both Great by Choice by JIm Collins, & in Essentialism by Greg McKeown). Scott's team walked as far as possible on good days; resting up on bad days to conserve energy. Scott planned for best-case scenario, while hoping for ideal circumstances. Amundsen took a different approach. He stuck to a strict regimen of consistent progress by walking 20 miles every day, no matter the weather. He prepped for things to go wrong, and built slack and buffers into his plan.

One common goal. Two very different plans. Which one succeeded?

The team that took consistent action.

Scott had a goal, but unfortunately, he wasn't consistent in his dailly must-dos. The outcome was that not only did Scott's team fail, but members of his team also tragically died. Admundson and team successfully completed their journey to and back from the South Pole, the result of consistent action.

Accomplishments and success come as a result of the daily grind. What are the non-negotiables you will include as a part of your Daily 20? Those individuals that plan and act upon their daily priorities end up defining themselves. Those that don't are most likely defined by their work.

Much has been articluated and shared about the need to have passion for what you do, as it helps us to push to and beyond limits. But I think there is wisdom in having both a lower and upper limit. Baseline non-negiotables of what has to be done, while recognizing & honoring a daily stopping point to reserve passion, leaving you wanting more the next day. There appears to be great power, focus and healthy discomfort in working within these boundaries. As we are days away from the start of our 172-days school year, I'm excited what this focused approach could mean for meaningful learning.

What other implications can you think of for your leadership and learning?