June 16, 2009 Chris Fuller

R – Let’s get Race Ready!

Leaders (Mushers) in the Iditarod Race have to plan and prepare months in advance of the race. For most, they may take a few weeks or month off and then they are right back planning next year’s race.

Thinking, planning, preparing constantly – this race becomes as much an addiction as an adventure or business. For many of us in business, could we not say the same?

In the minds of mushers are many components as they think about the upcoming season: Who will my leaders be? Does my kennel have a deep enough bench strength? Can I be more strategic about where we pushed it and where we rested? Where was my team stronger / weaker? How can I make my team stronger? What training can I do in advance of the race to prepare them better? Do I have them on the right ‘diet’? Is there a way I can become more competitive with Lance?

Weeks and sometimes months in advance they have to compile and ship supplies and resources to the 20+ checkpoints throughout the race course. Food, dry clothing, and everything else under the sun that is needed to run this grueling race. Lack preparation and ‘Readiness’ on the Iditarod Trail and you’re likely to die or be so frost bitten that you’ll lose a part(s) of your body. (Not to mention what you’ll be putting your team through) If we are going to succeed in this business era of limited resources and global struggle, then the team that takes the time to get it right on the front end and executes well is going to survive.

For those that like my HAB 22 model (see 5/11 – 5/15 posts) the RACE strategy is very similar. For those that may not have seen HABB 22, it basically says we start with H (Having a vision), A (ABC simplicity), B 22 (Break it down into components and stages/ checkpoints). For the R in race we bridging all of the components in that we are thinking about them and strategizing each step.

So what lessons can we learn from them and how can we improve our strategy development?

1. Simple Clarity

Simple questions like: who or what are we? What business are we in? What do we want to achieve? What is our market niche? What are our Team Dynamics? How much do we know about our market/industry?

2. Supplies

What will we need for the journey? (Resources), When will we need them? How do we get them?

3. Team Dynamics

Who will we need? Do we have them? How will we get the players we need? What should our race strategy be – given the team we have and leveraging their present strengths/capabilities?

4. Weather conditions

What’s going on outside of use that can affect our race? Competition? Advances in Sled Technology? Capital Markets? Impending climate changes? Storms? Etc.

While this just scratches the surface of the ‘Race Ready’ strategy, it will get us started on the journey! Take the time to get ready – remember it’s: Ready, Aim, then Fire!

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