I should be writing this in Holland where I was due to deliver a three-day workshop on ‘Creating High Performance Teams’ to a group of 15 senior leaders in the CRH European business. Instead, I’m at home in Princeton as one of a huge number of people whose travel has been disrupted by the travel chaos caused by the volcanic eruption in Iceland. I count myself very lucky to have been stuck at home rather than thousands of miles away.
I ran a workshop last week on ‘Performance Coaching’ in ICON, a global provider of outsourced development services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries. The venue was Philadelphia and involved 12 leaders from different parts of the globe who are on a ‘Leadership Excellence Program’. Lane4 has been working with ICON for the past four years and always look forward to working with their people. They are very bright, very good at what they do, and are sponges for any people leadership skills and tools they can lay their hands on. We had a lot of fun, ruined slightly by the fact that on the final afternoon half of them learned their flights home the following morning had been cancelled. I wonder where they are as I write …..
There are much worse things than having to spend time in Princeton. It’s a very pretty town, famous for its university and a couple of former faculty members called Albert Einstein and John Nash (played by actor Russell Crowe in ‘Beautiful Mind’).
Anyway, the unexpected stay at home has enabled me to reduce the height of my ‘to read’ pile. In this pile was an article on one of my colleagues at Lane4 that I want to share with you. Greg Searle is a British rower who, at 20 years of age, won an Olympic Gold Medal rowing with his brother in the 1992 Barcelona Games. He retired from the sport in 2001 and after competing for Great Britain in the America’s Cup (yachting), joined Lane4 as a full-time consultant.
Anyway, the reason I’m telling you this is that Greg has recently come out of retirement at the age of 38 with his heart and mind firmly set on being part of the British team in the 2012 London Games. Those of you who know anything about rowing will be aware of the huge physical power and endurance required to compete at the top level. Training can be brutal, especially for a body that will be 40 years old if he makes it to the Games.
Greg’s story is one of reinvention, something all of us in the business world can learn from. Reinvention is at the other end of the continuum from complacency and stagnation. It’s about never standing still and finding ways to continually grow and develop. It’s about motivating yourself by identifying and focusing on that next challenge. For Greg, the challenge is highly visible and obvious. You and I may need to search a little deeper to find reasons to reinvent ourselves, but they are there if we look hard enough.
Anyway, have a look at the article and I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing Greg the best of luck.