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Enact: 20-Mile Marches

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Polar explorer Roald Amundsen beat Captain Scott to the South Pole by consistently marching 20 miles a day.


He had worked out in advance that 20 miles was the optimum (and sustainable) amount for a team with their equipment.


In bad weather the team did it anyway, and in good weather they stopped after 20 miles to save energy for the next day.


Scott’s team either stayed in their tents on bad days or overshot on good ones and wore themselves out.


The moral is that companies, teams and individuals should aim for similar consistency.


This is what the business authors Collins and Hansen call fanatic discipline.


Building a modern resilient business is a many-headed beast. Sustainability projects are an infinite game. So it is inevitable that you could overshoot on easier tasks and slow down horribly on harder ones.


Try not to do this. Don’t ease off just because things are difficult or overdo it when things are easy.

Apply consistent twenty-mile marches and ask the same of your colleagues. This is another piece of brutal discipline that will counterbalance the challenge of heading towards milestones that are fiendishly difficult and that are so far in the future.


It’s tough, but it works.

Taken from The Sustainable Business Book

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