August of 2018 marks my 18th year of marriage to my wife, Christy. She is an amazing woman who balances being a wife, mother, sister and realtor with such natural ease….I am very lucky to be married to such an incredible person who supports me in everything I do. Christy has long been an avid lover of mountain biking and road biking, and is able to complete a long distance road race with minimal training. She is a natural on the bike which brings me to the topic of this quarter’s post.
In February, 2017, I bought my wife a Peloton. She loves to be on any bike and the thought of spending 45 minutes to an hour every day working out from the comfort of our home brought many smiles to her face as the company was delivering her new piece of exercise equipment. Personally, spin classes or road biking was never something I adored. Sitting on a bike for anything more than 10 minutes was about as gratifying as watching paint dry and my time spent exercising was doing pretty much anything else.
Something changed in January of 2018…suddenly, I was hooked to taking classes every day I could, not only on our Peloton at home, but at other spin class gyms in my travels. I started looking up what gyms near my hotels offered spin classes. Days without an instructor led class felt empty. Classes at 5:30AM were suddenly very intriguing to me, as long as I could get the class in and not miss a day. Several weeks ago, I was asked what was the “trigger” which made me become a fanatic of the Peloton bike and participating in spin classes almost daily. To me, it is very similar to leading others and was a combination of things, but most importantly, it was finding instructors who I enjoyed spending 30-60 minutes with on a daily basis. The characteristics of successful leaders and businesses are very similar to why Peloton has generated a cult-like following in the highly competitive world of physical exercise.
The Similarities Between Peloton and Leadership
- Leading others is a competitive environment: There are many choices to choose from concerning where you spend your time and resources on exercising. You have to love what you do or you will eventually find something else. Professionally, there are always other companies and leaders, many with competitive advantages, who are trying to take your best people away from you. Always let your good people know where they stand and work on implementing plans for their continued improvement. Peloton has expanded their portfolio to lead workouts in running, core, and yoga to name a couple outside of their cycling portfolio. What are you and your company doing to expand the capabilities of your most important asset, your people?
- You need to vary your workouts to get better: The most dramatic growth in anything comes from getting comfortable being uncomfortable. The Peloton instructors are constantly coaching to this concept and recommend varying your class schedule from HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) to Endurance Classes to Climb Rides among others. Professional growth is no different. We must constantly be challenging ourselves to improve in areas outside our normal comfort zones. What are you learning today that makes you a better leader than you were 12 months ago?
- You need to have peers who push you to perform at your best: The Peloton bike has a touchscreen with a leader-board which shows how your statistics compare to others, in addition to showing your personal records depending on class. This scoreboard is a great tool to see how you are ranked versus other riders. Peer leadership is just as important as leadership by hierarchy, and the peers I work with challenge me to be better each week. I am fortunate to work with talented individuals, who are successful leaders and even better people. Are you becoming the best leader you can be, not worrying about what others do well or need to work on? Are you the type of leader that you would enjoy working for? What do your peers do well that you could improve on?
- A good leader will sometimes tick you off by pushing you to attempt tasks you did not think possible: There are times when I am 30 minutes into a HIIT class and the instructor is telling me to give more and I would love to scream obscenities back at that instructor. However, they are just coaching me to try and give my best and motivate me to give everything I have for that 45 minute class. The best leaders are not worried about being liked…they are focused on being respected, developing others and have their employees best intentions at the forefront at all times. Are you challenging your teams to perform at levels that exceed their own expectations? Are you coaching them specifically on what their goals are and communicating in a style specific to their needs?
- Every day brings a new opportunity to improve and learn: While Peloton offers many outstanding coaches (I have enjoyed every class I have taken with each instructor) I feel connected to several because of the way they push me to perform better. Each of them is different in their style, music choices, and delivery, and each one talks about setting daily wins to hit long term goals. They constantly share that the most important part of improving our performance is getting on the bike each day and submitting ourselves to their coaching. Motivation is an internal trait that the most successful people have….what typically takes an individual’s performance from good to great is an inspiring leader. To Dennis, Emma, Jennifer, Matt and Jenn, thank you for pushing me to be better and for your constant words of encouragement and inspiration.
When you first turn on the Peloton prior to a ride, the following definition comes up:
Great leaders work together and perform better because of one another. I am thankful that my wife has a love for biking that has led me to join a community of teamwork, togetherness, and comradery who celebrates individual differences and challenges us to be better. For other Peloton riders, please feel free to follow me…my user name is AlwaysLearning.
Well Done > Well Said