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Business Sprints – One Thing Usain Bolt Doesn’t Want You To Know

The most efficient way to grow your business and reach a personal goal is a sprint.

A sprint, whether a business sprint or personal sprint, helps you avoid task switching, break Parkinson's Law and iterate quickly to find what works.

One Thing Usain Bolt Doesn't Want You To Know

Usain Bolt is the fastest human on earth. In fact, he may be the fastest human who has ever lived.

Even though he's the fastest human to ever walk the planet, you can beat him in a race.

You don't have to be fast, strong or even call yourself an athlete. You just need to run the right way.

Usain Bolt will run 100 meters in 9.58 seconds. You might take 12-15 seconds if you're in good shape. But, what if Bolt runs the wrong direction? If he runs just 100 meters in the wrong direction, you win.

The same is true in business. The fastest business doesn't win if it runs the wrong way. We think the well-financed, experienced, large company is impossible to beat. You and your business, however, have a chance with a sprint in the right direction.

Create a Business Sprint

Sprints are common-place in the software development world, often called a scrum. A scrum is a product development strategy in which everyone works together for a focused amount of time on one specific product or feature.

This model flies in the face of the typical model of segmenting workers and having everyone work on a piece before passing it down the line to the next person. A sprint, or scrum, means nothing else interrupts the progress and everyone is working together on a common goal.

Your business can work in sprints, even if you are not in software or building products. A sprint could be as simple as 30 minutes at the beginning of the day to complete the hardest tasks of the day together.

It could stretch into a longer timeframe. Perhaps your business is creating a new marketing strategy or onboarding a new client. Instead of doing a little bit every day or once a week, do nothing else until you finish that task. Keeping your mind focused on one task will enable quick completion and, often, more creative work.

In the software world, the day, week and month are broken into a number of scrums. In your business, the same could be done. Break your day into a morning and afternoon sprint. Get everyone together for the sprint to all work on that one problem, even if they are working at it from different departments. Then, the marketing, development, account, and more are all done together. It not only improves the output, but it also builds a cohesive company culture because everyone is working together.

Create a Personal Sprint

Sprints are not limited to businesses. Many of us will think about resolutions in the coming weeks. Instead of resolving to do something for an entire year, commit to a sprint. Workout, read, meditate or cook for 30 days. Keep your goals short and focused.

The beauty of this model is that completing a sprint will often lead to the desired behavior change anyways. Finishing a goal also provides positive feedback so you'll be more likely to launch into another sprint.

When we limit our timeframe, we push ourselves to achieve more. You may have a goal to read a book a month in the new year. What if you tried to read a book a day for six days? You could probably do it, and in that one week, you would have finished as much as you had planned to do in half a year.

Start Your Annual Review

Long time readers of the blog will know I'm a big fan of annual reviews. Each year I review and create business goals, personal goals and a word for the year.

In the coming weeks, I will again share my methodology and my annual reviews. I know that the upcoming year will focus on taking the new goals and building sprints to make them achievable. At our business, we will be looking at ways to do the same.

Your business and personal life may be a marathon, but it should be run as a sprint with short bursts of focused energy. This irony is that running quickly in a focused direction will lead to a more peaceful and organized life. As we are increasingly bombarded with information, alerts and business “fires,” sprints are the path towards sanity and productivity.

You can beat Bolt, just worry about running in the right direction.

Image: Flickr