My wife and I are in the final days of the Lazyman Triathlon sponsored through the YMCA. It’s an annual event. This year the branch nearest us decided not to participate. One of the local instructors was so bummed, she decided to create her own unofficial Lazyman. We told her we were in. One day we visited another branch and discovered they were doing an official one. We were in there too. The two overlap, so we are doing two this year.
The Lazyman differs from a regular triathlon in a couple important ways. First there are the substitutions. We can run or walk for 26.2 miles. We choose to walk. We can swim or row. We choose to row for 12.5 miles. We can bike or use an elliptical for 112 miles. We bike.
Time is the second important difference. Instead of doing them all in a day, the activities are spread over six weeks.
I’m guessing real triathletes have amazing feelings of accomplishment when they finish the grueling event. Comparatively, the Lazyman is a walk in the park. And that’s not just a cliché. On some days we literally did take a walk in the park. Even though it’s much easier, I still feel good when I finish. I feel a sense of accomplishment and even a little proud.
It’s not hard, but it does require discipline. Without the structure and the measurement, I am certain I would not do that much physical activity on my own. I certainly wouldn’t get on a rowing machine. Those things give me motion sickness.
The Lazyman helps me push myself. Once I start, I want to finish. I want the sense of accomplishment. I also want the t-shirt. It’s amazing what a motivator a free t-shirt is. The t-shirt has power. Not only is it something to wear, but it also announces to all that I did it. I finished the Lazyman.
Perhaps it’s time to put the Lazyman principles to work at the office. Your employees want to be winners. They want to accomplish something that matters. Here’s what you need to do:
- Set the goals. Make them clear and worthwhile.
- Set the time frame. Not too long. Not too short.
- Measure progress. People need to know where they stand.
- Provide an incentive. It doesn’t have to be huge. It just needs to be something they want.
- Create an environment where they can succeed. You need to provide the tools and resources.
- Cheer for them along the way.
- Celebrate when they finish.
They can do it. And when your employees win, your business wins. Set them up for success and watch them go.