I have had no problem occupying myself during my four weeks between the end of one and the beginning of another. Rather I have found it more challenging to maintain activities I benefit from and enjoy amongst all the things I have had to do, discuss, think about, question and resolve. Near the top of my ‘activities to maintain’ has been my daily visit to the local fitness centre.
I always find this time both inspiring and relaxing. Relaxing since it gives me a break from whatever I am doing. Inspiring since I always clear my thoughts as I start to exercise and I wait to see what comes to the front of my mind…what do I end up thinking about? Sometimes it’s me, sometimes my family, sometimes my work and sometimes – I am delighted to say – it is just nothing.
In truth, of course, it is not often nothing! There’s always something (or someone) that interests me, amuses me or stimulates me. This last week there were two that drew my attention – one marketing and one changing.
My fitness centre is ten minutes’ drive from home. A new car wash facility recently opening on the route. Day by day, it has been fascinating to watch a derelict site being smartened, painted and equipped for a ‘by-hand’ car washing service. A couple of weeks ago it opened. But would it last? How much trade would it get? How much trade does it need?
The principal marketing ploy appeared to be roadside signs to attract passing motorists. But would that be enough? First indications were positive. Every time I drove by – any time of day – there were cars being cleaned and valeted. Looks good, looks busy I thought…I’ll have to call in…tomorrow!
This week, though, I worked out what was really happening. At least half the times I drove by I realised that the exact same two cars were being washed. And if I did catch sight of a different car being cleaned then sure enough the ‘original’ cars were parked at the rear of the forecourt.
And so, sure enough, I found myself considering this observation whilst exercising. Was it a marketing manoeuvre? An innovative idea? A cynical strategy? In the end I concluded I was impressed. As a potential client, there is an enormous difference between reviewing an (apparently) thriving business rather than an operation with no sign of customers.
On the subject of marketing, the fitness centre itself launched a new campaign last week to encourage members to enrol for personal training. They had large banners everywhere. Explore. Evolve. Energise. Excel. This stimulated my thinking.
The posters had three or four lines of text under each heading but – fortunately – those lines were too far away and too small. Fortunately since the headings were sufficiently compelling in their own right, and – who knows – perhaps the magic would have been lost if I had read gory details about calories and cross-trainers.
These four ‘Es’ were very thought-provoking. In many ways I recognised them as a simple – but pertinent – framework for change…and maybe this was what drew me in. I have big change coming my way. Big change professionally and big change personally.
I can’t wait to Explore a ‘new normal’. I am certain I will Evolve with new colleagues, different ways of working, partnering and leading. I can only imagine how much Energy I will harness from this experience…but I know how much Energy I will assign to this amazing opportunity. And I want to Excel. I want us to Excel.
Explore. Evolve. Energise. Excel.