Similarity of a Board Meeting and a Road Race

Would you believe that board meetings and road races are similar? The best races I have run occur after more serious training, preparation and strategically thinking about the course. Similarly, positive board meeting results (obtaining the necessary policy and strategic initiative motions) also occur when there has been serious work and effective communication between board meetings. Today, 9/23/09, in Concord, NH, we had an extremely productive and strategic Delta Dental Plan of New Hampshire board meeting. Last Saturday, I had a nice 5k race in Concord (Run For the Animals; raises funds for the NH SPCA) for me (22.19). In both situations (board meeting and the race), the preparation work was/is the critical success factor — the board room and the running trails are the fun part in which one is simply putting into play all of the behind-the-scenes work. Similar to a duck peddling like mad below the surface of the water, while looking calm above the water, the most optimal board meetings have this calming effect for external directors, and the best road race for a runner is when s/he is in the zone, due to effective and efficient training/preparation beforehand. Tom R.

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8 Responses to Similarity of a Board Meeting and a Road Race

  1. A quote from Miyamoto Musashi, possibly the greatest swordsman who ever lived.

    “In strategy your spiritual bearing must not be any different from normal. Both in fighting and in everyday life you should be determined though calm. Meet the situation without tenseness yet not recklessly, your spirit settled yet unbiased. Even when your spirit is calm do not let your body relax, and when your body is relaxed do not let your spirit slacken.” (The Book of Five Rings, ~1645)

    How would you apply this to your comment about calm looking peddling ducks? Are the ducks truly calm, or do they merely look calm? If they’re peddling wildly are they actually listening to what’s going on around them?

    Please expound.

    Regards,

    Rich

    • tomraffio says:

      Hi Rich,

      The ducks, like stellar runners and stellar businesses, are in the zone. They make it look easy, when it’s not. Like Randy Moss out running the defenders not even looking like he’s going full tilt. The best businesses and best athletes make it look easy, but of course it’s not.

      tr

  2. Hi Tom,

    You tell me what it looks like, but you don’t tell me what it *is*.
    Or how to recognize it.
    Or how to do it.

    Rich

    • tomraffio says:

      Hi Rich,

      When you are in the zone, confident (but not arrogant) and self-actualizing, you know it, and you exude confidence, which makes you perform better as an athlete, and , in business, enables board members to have confidence and trust in you as a leader.

      Tom R.

  3. If I may ask, how do you personally get “into the zone” for a meeting? Preparation? Meditation? Work out? Go for a run? What gets you into that state?

    Rich

    • tomraffio says:

      Hi Rich,

      In the zone for me is: being physically fit through working out, but also being totally, totally prepared for any anticipated question that may occur in the board room. When you are confident that you can answer any question strategically, the rest of your presentation goes better because you are not worried that you will be tripped up later. It’s like taking an exam at Harvard, I just wanted to be sure that I had read all of the materials on the reading list, and been to all of the lectures. Then, I let the chips fall where they may, and, generally, there was/is a great result with the blue book exam booklet and in the Northeast Delta Dental board room.

      Hope this helps Rich.

      Tom R.

  4. What I hear you saying is that being physically fit helps you keep physically relaxed during a meeting or presentation, and being intellectually prepared by thoroughly researching and thinking through the topic helps you keep emotionally relaxed. Being physically and emotionally relaxed enables you to respond to questions calmly and strategically.

    Is that about right?

    Rich

    • tomraffio says:

      Hi Rich,

      Precisely Rich. In fact, when you are in this state of being physically and mentally fit, the bigger the issue, the more calmly and the more strategic one responds to the situation or business crisis. Tom R.

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