Post-Thanksgiving, is the body of your business in peak condition?
Every year ESPN: The Magazine releases what it calls “The Body Issue,” where it profiles the physiques of athletes all over the sporting world. This year is no different, headlined by well-known athletes like Brittany Griner and Kevin Love, but also featuring relatively obscure athletes like skateboarder Leticia Bufoni and USA Track & Field hammer thrower Amanda Bingson.
Each athlete details how he or she maintains the physical tools of the trade to compete at the highest level in their respective sports, including a revealing look at the bodies that quite literally earn their paychecks.
But why would a business be keen to read this issue? What does a series of photographs and interviews with professional athletes have to do with running a business operation? There are plenty of reasons, actually, but here are three that will surprise you.
1. It’s all about efficiency
Three offensive linemen from the Indianapolis Colts are profiled in 2015: Todd Herremans, Jack Mewhort, and Anthony Costanzo. While all three men are certainly large, each weighing over 300 pounds, their pictures in this year’s edition do not portray stereotypical bodies of offensive linemen.
The three of them may be enormous, but there is not much waste on their bodies, so to speak. In the modern NFL, you have to bring the right balance of speed, power, and athleticism to the field. Sheer size isn’t enough to handle the tempo of the game and the equally incredible athletes on defense trying to tackle a running back or sack a quarterback.
You know, the other 300-pound guys running directly at you at 25 miles per hour.
In your business, are you as efficient as a 315-pound NFL lineman, like Herremans, Mewhort, and Costanzo? Just like how these linemen must be ready for the modern NFL, is your organization ready for the modern marketplace?
All too often we hear “That’s the way we’ve always done it” or “It’s just always worked for us” as reasons not to adapt to a rapidly changing business world. But like the overweight lineman of NFL seasons past, the old way of doing things can get you out of the game in a hurry.
2. Peak condition comes in all sorts of varieties
USA Track & Field hammer thrower Amanda Bingson stands 5’5 and weighs 210 pounds. She holds the American women’s record in the hammer toss. Chantae McMillan, on the other hand, is a 5’8, 153-pound heptathlete. A very different body type, but just as much of an Olympian.
What this demonstrates is that athletes come in all shapes and sizes, but each athlete is a peak performer in their own field. What works for Bingson may not work for McMillan, as their events are very different.
Does your business have a clear sense of what peak condition is for your marketplace? What works in your industry may not work in others. Just as important, what works for a company you admire won’t always apply directly to your business. You need to make sure peak condition for your enterprise fits your business model and your culture in order for it to really make an impact.
In other words, train your business for the game you play. A great way to start is by optimizing your processes, just like how Amanda Bingson continually perfects her technique to remain a champion.
With enterprise content management – also known as document management software – you can capture your documents and information and store it all in a single, secure location that users can easily access. Going further, you can use workflow management to automatically forward documentation through processes, alerting stakeholders along the way.
It’s like training with a skilled coach in a well-equipped gym instead of going out in the yard and lifting rocks and logs. The difference is tangible.
3. Only the best make it in
There are no slouches in the “Body Issue,” that’s for sure. Each and every athlete featured has reached the pinnacle of their sports or events. They’re champions and elite performers. The issue is meant to inspire readers and showcase just what it takes to be that good at an athletic endeavor. It’s an exclusive group and has been ever since the first iteration of the annual article.
We see this in business all of the time, whether it be Fortune 500 listings or the covers of trade publications.
If you find yourself saying out loud “Well, we’re just not them,” then I have an idea for you. Perhaps you should be asking yourself, “How can we get there?”
You don’t need to replicate the actions of the Fortune 500, but it doesn’t hurt to draw inspiration from what makes them successful and apply it to your own organization, tweaked for your specific game. If you want to make it into the Fortune 500 or simply the cover of a local business journal, find a way to be the best at whatever it is you do.
But remember, only the best make it in.