Running & Racing (Paradox Pair #55)

Are we running a sprint or a marathon? Neither. Instead we are running a relay race.

Running & Racing (Paradox Pair #55)
Running & Racing, JLP

Are we racing flat out in a sprint or are we running a controlled tempo marathon? We hear pundits debate these choices often, yet we recognize that most of the time the answer is neither. Instead we are running a relay race. Ours is a team sport, not one made for an individual medal.

Like a relay team, our work requires multiple skills and disciplines. Our team (our tribe) is comprised of different strengths and we apply them strategically. We have the sprinter to get us started, running fast to gain an early advantage. Next comes those that can maintain our lead, driving consistency and pace. We may finish the last leg of the race with our anchor, whose early efficiency preserves energy to be used for surging to the finish, assuring our victory.

If we translate our team of runners to the 3X model, we begin with our explorer, whose ideas and vision help us think of new possibilities. Then we hand off to our expanders, those that mature our prototyped solution and market it to a growing audience, increasing distribution. Finally, our extractors focus on optimization and improving our profits, setting us up to repeat the cycle with a new idea.

In a relay race pace still matters, yet it’s the handoff that is critical. Passing the baton is a skill we practice, knowing that ours is a collaborative sport and the effectiveness of our handoff will determine our outcome. Running fast isn’t enough if we careen into our teammates causing us to fumble the transition. Competing requires speed coupled with unique skills at the right time — just like a relay race.

The Paradox Pairs series is an exploration of the contradictory forces that surround us.  A deeper study finds that these forces often complement each other if we can learn to tap into the strength of each. See the entire series by using the Paradox Pairs Index.