About me

Monday, November 4, 2013

Charlotte. Tough Mudder. Feeling oh so alive.

We came. We saw. See Ghostbusters for the third line.

Yes, it happened again. Tough Mudder. This time in Charlotte. We had ten people who bonded after a few emails and a brief huddle to create a high performing team showing synergistic and systemic leadership. They started together. They approached each obstacle together. They worked together to defeat each obstacle. They gave their skills to fellow Mudders of other teams. They advanced together to the next obstacle. It was rare that the greatest distance between two members exceeded fifty feet. 

Directions never needed repeating, and often, directions were not required as the team took up its labors as though they did this work ever day. With two exceptions, discussion regarding what to do did not exist. The team just did it. In those two exceptions, the discussion was shut down quickly as one member or another stepped forward and exercised leadership.

Our team was not alone in that regard. Exemplary leadership and teamwork are the order of the day at Tough Mudder, and I challenged my company's management to find a way to bring those behaviors through the front door and disperse them throughout the building.

Our very own Dr. Carroll and Mr. Pedigo were the gluons (gauge bosons, if you will) that held our nucleus together. They each moved from one member to the next, assessing how the people were doing as we progressed from one obstacle to the next. This activity was never planned, and I'm not even sure they were aware of doing it, but it's an essential component with high performing teams, and I was delighted to see it happen all afternoon.

Mr. Nall, the ringer our IT hired to represent them, demonstrated a vertical leap that told me he's definitely Ninja. Our favorite TreeTop Flyer displayed decision making skills with absolute accuracy and resolve, and then imparted to Mr. Pedigo the one additional secret to clear the hundred feet of monkey bars. Our sight-impaired Running Robot left us all wondering just what kind of Cheerios he ate for breakfast as his ONLY challenge was to run slow enough for the rest of us, and yes, he nearly walked across the monkey bars. The fact is that Mr. Nall, Lt. Penny, and Mr. Adams could have run the event twice in the time we took. 

Finally, m'Lily, m'Jennifer, and m'Grace routinely demonstrated what unabashed determination and sheer force of will can accomplish, especially in the face of on-going suggestions of "You can't do that." (Of course, it didn't hurt that Lily's John was with us for the occasional hug.) They jumped into a shipping container of iced slush, faced down mammalian reflex, and dove under the barbed wire to reach the exit. They stepped off a 20-foot high platform to plunge into a pit of muddy water equally as deep. Their feet never touched the bottom. I encourage you to never stand between these women and their goal. It wouldn't be prudent.

Lastly, one running psychometrician kept the team's spirits high even in the face of cold wind and rain as he sang many a song of Elven lore and ancient tongue, especially while traversing the Electric Eel. 

We saw runners with one leg. We saw runners with no legs. We saw one paraplegic runner on a recumbent bike. We saw a runner with one arm. We saw a runner in a wheel chair. We saw skinny runners. We saw short, little runners. We saw fat runners. We saw runners wheezing with asthma. We saw runners cramping. We saw runners puking. They all found the inner strength to finish. What, then, would be your reason for not joining us next 14 June for our three-peat just north of Richmond?