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Thoughtpiece: Team Success - is it a sprint or a marathon? Maybe it’s neither.

Thoughtpiece: Team Success - is it a sprint or a marathon? Maybe it’s neither.

There's a common saying that "success is a marathon, not a sprint."

The point of course, is to remind us to focus on long-term objectives rather than short-lived wins. But I reckon it still falls short when applied to the dynamics of successful teams working on big objectives.

Sprints are: short, fast, intense, solo & competitive bursts of energy ending in exhaustion

Marathons are: long, solo, competitive feats of endurance which also end in exhaustion.

So I've got two issues with sprints and marathons: Firstly both end in exhaustion. Secondly both are competitive, solo endeavours where there is only one winner at the end.

When it comes to team success the last thing we want is individuals competing with each other and ending up exhausted. So what's another metaphor we could use?

I propose that we think of team success as a March, a concept that not only emphasizes endurance but also fosters a sense of collective effort.

Usually, the term is used to describe military troops moving in unison or groups of people walking together for a shared cause as they might at a protest.

This metaphor emphasizes the following key elements:

  1. Long-term endurance
  2. Regular, measured, and consistent progress
  3. Collaboration and unity within the group
  4. A shared belief in a common cause
  5. No single winner; everyone arrives at the destination together

By adopting the concept of a March, we can promote a more collaborative and supportive team environment, where members work towards a shared goal and encourage one another along the way.

A March is about togetherness. We move forward together and we walk with purpose and consistency.

We motivate each other to keep going. We give each other strength because we share a common belief in our cause.

When we march together we multiply our individual power.

And at the end of the day, we arrive at our destination together, weary but not burned out.