This past Friday was no different than any other in terms of class time, and my plane out of Denver was on a four-hour weather delay that would have me landing around 3 am. I could have easily sent a text to another coach asking them to cover for me, but this workout was special. It was a Hero Workout that our gym does every year called Hot Shots 19 to honor the nineteen City of Prescot (Arizona) firefighters, members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighting team, that tragically lost their lives on June 30th, 2013 while fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire. It was the deadliest wildfire in Arizona’s history, and we do this one because a lot of our athletes at the gym are firefighters with an emotional connection to the workout. Originally, the workout is written to be done individually, but since CrossFit is all about community, the firefighters were a team, and we all compete as a team, our gym modified the workout to accommodate a team. Therefore, our version of the workout is below:
For the athletes, providing them with a strategy on how to tackle this workout was going to be critical for them to be able to complete it within the allotted time. Prior to beginning, the teams needed to devise a plan that would best utilize each team member’s strengths all while minimizing their weaknesses. As a coach, I always encourage (and emphasize) the need for each of them to leave their ego at the front door and work together to complete the task at hand. One person can’t do it all, and it’s always a better outcome when they work together.
The next significant piece to this workout is technique. One thing that I’ve always loved about CrossFit, aside from the comradery, is that at first glance a lot of great athletes would go unrecognized in public. In fact, some of the best athletes I’ve ever coached haven’t been ex-football players, they have been either stay-at-home moms or tech gurus that have spent thousands of hours working on their form and technique, choosing to perfect every movement before letting their ego add weights to the bar. With just one glance at the whiteboard, you can tell that there are a lot of moving parts, and every movement requires attention to specific muscular and anatomical function. In a workout like this, the athlete that pays close attention to detail in how their body is moving is going to beat the biggest and strongest athlete every single time.
By now you’re probably thinking, what on Earth does this have to do with Economic Development? Did I open a Health and Fitness blog? But in all honestly, the metaphors are quite relatable. As an EDO executive, you’re constantly faced with new challenges to overcome. These challenges are the workout. As a coach (or consultant), I’m telling you that before trying to conquer those challenges you need to devise a strategy. A strategy that utilizes the strengths of your key partners and EDOs, and thus minimizes your own weaknesses to work toward that common goal of a prospering community. Let the strategy guide you to success while being strategic and technical in your approach. Also, don’t think that you must put a “check” next to every box within that very first year of the multi-year strategy. Remember, it’s not the biggest and strongest that will win, it’s the ones that have spent hours and hours perfecting their technique that will be successful. Your investors understand that a well-formulated strategy will take some time, so work towards getting “small-wins” for them while working towards perfecting the overall strategic goal. And lastly, the weight vest. It’s a metaphor for the added weight that will be on your shoulders at times. Whether that extra weight is from your investors, public officials, staff, or all of the above, just know that while that weight will be lifted at times, the added burden is just conditioning you for even sweeter success in the end.