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Milestones and Mamacharis



At present I am living on top of a hill with 6 kilometer distance and 120 meter difference in altitude to my company. I cover this distance by bike everyday. I am really not the sporty type, so I had quite a tough time to climb the hill at the beginning. But as in any context, if you see that other people can do it, you should make an effort, so you can too. Quite some people take the same way up hill. So I meet especially one high-school student more or less regularly on my way home. I was really surprised about the way he was biking when I saw him the first time. At the easy parts of the track I usually speed-up, so that it is easier to climb the steep passages at the beginning. But the high-school student somehow keeps all the way a constant speed. That means that on the easy passages he is relatively slow and it is sometimes a bother to pass. On the other hand he is relatively fast at steep passages and it’s me who is a hurdle to him. I tried to follow his rhythm, but it turned out not to work for me. But still I cannot say which technique is the better one, because somehow we usually reach the top of the hill at the same time.

I feel sometimes the same way at work. At the moment I am leading a project on which five people are working on. The team members have very different core competences and cover four different cultural backgrounds (Russian, Chinese, German and French). So being a rather small team it is quite heterogeneous – and I haven’t talked about the different characters we accumulate, yet. Due to very different approaches and perspectives many ideas are generated and this drive can carry you a long way. But when it comes to implement these ideas together it becomes really important to give everybody the freedom to work the way that suits best to him. Working this way makes defining clearly the goal, time targets and the important land marks of the journey absolutely critical. It can be worrying sometimes when people have different approaches and speeds, but forcing someone into a very specific technique that is not meant for him might lead to failure.

Meanwhile I think I could enhance my cycling technique a little – also by adopting from others. And still while keeping our individual rhythm and passing each other from time to time, it is on the top of the hill we can see whatever technique the other was using: it was successful.

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