I was out for a run recently in an area with which I was not familiar. There was a nice path in front of the hotel, so I just chose a direction and started my training. I should have taken more time to plan my route because I ran out of sidewalk after a few miles and had to stop. I looked around and didn’t see any inviting paths, so I brought up a map on my phone to help choose a direction. After a few minutes I figured out which way to go and resumed my run. As soon as I began, I had a sharp pain in my knee. It was a surprise because up to the time I ran out of sidewalk, I was feeling great. I resumed my run and struggled through the aches and pains. I was able to make it back to my hotel but I was never able to get back to my target pace that day.
Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs causes me to relate just about everything with business issues and I thought about how the knee pain and temporary stoppage correlated to my work. We increase our customers’ efficiency by providing solutions for their production lines that keep their slowest machine running as much as possible. The increase in efficiency is easy to calculate based on the constraint’s improved uptime. My run enlightened me to the fact that reducing the number of stoppages has another, but more difficult to measure, benefit. By keeping their production lines moving, we prevent many of the potentially catastrophic failures that are more likely to occur during a sudden shutdown and subsequent start up.
I’ve gotten consistent feedback on the topic from both runners and business people. A fervent ultra-marathon runner recommended never stopping during a race, and people controlling production lines have told me that they make great efforts to slow the line, rather than stop it, when problems occur. They have both learned from experience that bad things happen during abrupt or unscheduled stoppages. I’m going to follow their advice and try to keep moving forward in all aspects of my life.