Set the pace

We, the people who run operations for companies, are marathon pace bunnies without the ears.

Watch any marathon and you’ll see the ears among the throngs running. They balance the adrenalin of the first bunch of miles with the long run ahead. They don’t let anyone get too far out in front of their feet too early on and don’t let them get too far behind later on. Steady.

You put trust in them. They set the pace. You follow them to hit your goal.

I think of startups and high growth companies as running successive, back-to-back marathons…without stopping…ever. There are tremendous highs and lows along the way and, at each 20 mile marker, you question why you are putting yourself through it. Every time.

This is why setting the pace is so important. Most startups jump too fast out of the blocks or think of the finish line before putting in the work — wasting essential energy on non-essential things.

Pace bunnies lead and encourage everyone around them — often with a smile on their face — but don’t forget, they are running the same marathon as everyone else. It just doesn’t seem like they are and that’s the power of pace setting in action.