Lessons From The Ski Hill

We just returned from our annual ski trip to Panorama and I’m pleased to report there were no broken bones or broken relationships! Here are some of the things we learned from having five people and lots of stuff jammed together for five days of fun.

Skill = Performance = Fun

As everyone spent more time on the hill, their skill improved. As their skill improved, their performance improved, and they had more fun. Our metrics went from ‘no tears’ to ‘no wipeouts’ to ‘having fun.’

In your business, how are you helping your employees to improve their skills every day so they can improve their performance and have more fun? How are you measuring performance on a daily or even a transaction basis?

One of the best things about sports is that everyone always knows the score. How do your employees keep their score? Do they know what they are being measured on? Are they being measured?

Perhaps your most unhappy employees don’t have the skills (a training issue) or are in the wrong jobs that don’t match their natural talents (a management issue). Your best performers are probably your happiest because they are using their talents.

It’s your job as the leader to position people for success.

Focus = Safety

When you’re zooming down the hill, you can’t be checking your text messages or day dreaming about something else. Between gravity and constantly changing hill conditions, any error might cause a painful wipeout, or at least an embarrassing one.

My construction and industrial clients are focused on safety and measure their safety statistics ruthlessly (and daily). Their customers use my client’s safety stats to qualify them and to allow them to bid on jobs. If the safety stats are poor, they may not even be invited to quote on jobs. Safety is good for your employees and good for your business.

What are your employees focused on? Is safety first, or is getting a bunch of tasks done as quickly as possible the priority?

Safety applies to all departments, from quoting and sales to delivery, invoicing, and accounting. Errors in any of these areas can cost you lots of money.

Rest Breaks = Better Performance

Some of us zoom part way down the hill, then stop for a quick break, then keep on zooming. This can prevent the buildup of lactic acid that reduces performance. Gradually, we increase our endurance. The breaks keep all systems fresh and ready for action.

How often do your people take breaks? Office workers might even be the worst at this. They sit, stare at a computer, and pound away at their keyboards. A five to ten-minute break, especially with some walking and fresh air, can be more effective than two cups of coffee. It’s certainly healthier for you.

People doing physically demanding or dangerous tasks are even more at risk from injury and need regular breaks.

I think it was Sylvester Stallone that said, “the purpose of our body is to carry around our brain.” In other words, we are all like athletes and need to take care of our bodies so that our brains work more effectively.

What is your corporate culture on developing skills, increasing focus, and taking breaks to maximize performance? Even more importantly, what are you demonstrating — as the leader — that shows everyone what you value the most?

If you’d like to discuss how I can help you improve business performance, please call me at 1-306-992-6177 or send me an email at [email protected].

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