I love the Olympic Games. And when NBC avoids the sappy and the sensational, it does great human interest stories on many of the athletes. One such story described American Alpine skier Julia Mancuso’s training location. Not in Park City. Not in Squaw Valley. But on Maui!
The caption for her YouTube video: “… Olympic medalist Julia Mancuso doesn’t spend her off-season locked up inside a gym. Instead, she heads to Hawaii, where surfing, free diving and outdoor workouts are staples in getting her prepared for the rigors of the Alpine skiing season.”
As I watched her interview, I was impressed with her balanced approach to preparing herself for the Olympics. It wasn’t all rigor and exercise. It involved surfing, free diving, and outdoor workouts breathing in the heavenly salt air of Maui. She stressed mixing fun with the intensity of disciplining herself for the Olympic Games. Well it worked. By Monday she had already won the bronze medal in the super-combined, and is favored to medal in the women’s downhill.
What a great concept to apply to the field of project management and consulting – mixing fun with our discipline. I know many consultants who are so intensely focused on being the best, that they forget to have fun. In that intensity of focus they become humorless, self-absorbed, and not much fun on the project. Technically they may be the very best. But on IT projects, especially those multi-year systems projects, consultants need to be more than just technically excellent. Success of these projects also relies on people working with people, and liking the journey.
Julia Mancuso didn’t become world-class by focusing on racing down a ski hill 300 days a year. She balanced her time on the snow with time in the sun and surf, mixing strength training with water play. So, too, consultants don’t become world-class by reading the PMBOK Guide every night before bed, and practicing endless Agile exercises during the day. They become world-class by mixing in time for vacationing, relaxing, volunteering, or taking courses in developing their public speaking or meeting facilitation skills. It takes a well-rounded, multiply skilled individual to be a world-class consultant.
As Mancuso said while weight training in her Maui backyard, “It’s about how controlled and balanced everything can be (emphasis mine).”
I love the Olympics. The world’s best remind me what it takes to be the world’s best.
[If you’re looking for an upbeat keynote speaker, an experienced seminar leader, an on-site project management coach, or an expert in project oversight and IV&V, you need look no further. Contact Merv to help guarantee your project delivery success.]
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