The importance of the correct infrastructure to your success

One of the things I learnt a long time is the importance of taking full responsibility for success, instead of succeeding by default. Like an athlete, we need to make sure that we prepare ourselves physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially so that we are able to achieve our goals with minimum strain.

Bongmusa Mthembu, the 2014 Comrades Marathon winner, when answering one of the questions at the KPMG celebration of Woman’s month said that ‘…he knew that he needed to cover 350 km per week in his preparation. That means he could do up to about 50 km per day during the week, and needed to make up for the deficit during the weekends, which meant running up to 70 km per day sometimes on Saturdays and Sundays. The significance of what he said bring us back to the point that I am making, that as athletes running the mile of our lives, do we know the distance we need to cover? Do we also know how much time we need and how much time we have? Do we know how much sleep we need as part of our preparation? Do we know the food we need to eat and the professionals who need to be in our team?These questions are critical to our preparation and planning if we are serious about our success.

One of the observations I have come to is that the age of senior personnel in organisations has decreased. If you remember, earlier in time you could not study for an MBA before you were a certain age, because that age came with a certain number of years in senior management. In most cases it meant the kids were already old enough to need minimum support, and mum was home more than we see today. Much of that has changed, which means even the needs of people in senior management positions have evolved. It is common now to find a young mother, with children who are not even at school, in a senior position. This mother, and indeed dad, has different social needs to support her (and his) success. These needs include a well-trained nanny for the kids, sometimes an au pair, a good crèche, good after care facilities, a baby-sitter for after hours, a laptop possibly connected to the server at work that can be used to work from home, etc. All these and more form a powerful infrastructure without which social, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing is not possible.

So the big question, if we are indeed like the athlete that prepares for physical, emotional, spiritual and social success, is WHO should decide what is needed? And who should ensure that stuff is in place? Yes, the answer is simple; it’s you. Fact is without confidence, clear communication and smart contracting all this may not be possible. Taking responsibility does not mean doing it alone, or being a super person! Taking responsibility means making a responsible and conscious audit of all the roles that you have as parent, child, sibling, aunt/uncle, friend and citizen of this country. Once you have listed all your roles, confirm the expectations of those in your life by asking, not guessing. Then look at the resources available to you to deliver your expectations, and confirm what you will be able to do, and where you need help/support. Communicate also, what you expect from the different people in the different roles, listen to what is possible, and agree what the final contracts look like. The name of the game is COLLABORATION and COMMUNICATION.

An important part of building a solid infrastructure includes making sure that you have lined up your professionals; family doctor, accountant for taxes if necessary, dentist, psychologist if necessary, florist, car dealer/ mechanic for your care, coach, mentor, etc. These professionals may look over the top, unnecessary luxury, but the more demanding your responsibilities, the more professionals you need to take care of the responsibilities that you can ‘outsource’ to ensure that you have time for those things that you cannot outsource like spending quality time with your loved one, and rest. Like an athlete, we need to make sure that we prepare ourselves physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially so that we are able to achieve our goals with minimum strain. This is how we do this.

Queen Ramotsehoa.
Leadership Coach – Tsheto Leadership and Coaching academy.