Thursday, May 31, 2012

Are You the Hunter of the Hunted?

In 2009, Craig ‘Crowie’ Alexander chased the lead pack during the marathon leg of the Ironman World Championships in Kona and found his victory. He patiently ran as he sliced of 40 seconds per mile, as he found his true place in the race. In 2010, Andreas Raelert, finally, caught up with Macca during the last few miles of the marathon, only to be spent. Chris ‘Macca’ McCormack applied mind games with him, and beat him up the hill and won his second world title in Kona. My friend, Tobias Frenz overtook a former-professional rider at the 300K mark of the double-Ironman race in Abu Dhabi. Tobias won, back-to-back, the single and double-Ironman races held on two days!

There are both positive and negative connotations of being a hunter. If you are the hunter, you will be managing your pace so as to overtake any stragglers or competitors? In running, you make your pass, increase the lead, and hold it. Unless the overtaken runner challenges you, it means that they have conceded the pass to you (until the next opportunity). A hunter can also be perceived as combative, militant or threatening as he is seeking the bounty. Legal bounty-hunters assist the law with search-and-arrest of criminals. Sales professionals and top legal-eagles focus on the ‘closer’. To be able to ‘close’ is to be able to successfully influence the panel of decision-maker to ‘buy’ into the concept or contract.

The hunted, is pursued by the relentless. They will be eyed as a 'prize', and the fitter and faster runner will make his move upon closing in on you. You can prevent it from happening, by increasing your pace, and applying tactical interventions that are offensive or defensive in nature. Last Saturday night, for the first two kilometres of the 21K of the Sundown Marathon, a female runner ran closely with me. As I shifted ground, she followed opting to run side-by-side with me. Instead of shrugging with mild annoyance, I elected to shrug her off by increasing my pace. My watch showed 9:30 for the first 2K's, which exceeded my initial pace. Thankfully, I held this pace for most of the remaining 19K's in case I was further hunted. In my second-half of the race, I overtook 32 runners and was overtaken by three others. Pretty good returns on my investment, if I may say so.

To be hunter or the hunted requires values of patience, persistence, endurance and tenacity. If you surrender too soon, the game is over. If you insist in chasing, the game is afoot. Set your values alight, and trail-blaze your way to the finish-line.

Other times, what is hunted is not the position, it is the timing or ranking. Beating your personal best time may mean qualifying for the Boston Marathon or the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. Whatever your intellectual, physical and emotional investments, your holy grail may be worth the price of purposeful pursuit.

Leadership Lessons: How are you making yourself sought after as a valuable resource? How often do executive search professionals (headhunters) call on you? How do you make yourself the hunted in your field of pursuit? How enduring are you when chasing your dream, or dream job?

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