Today was a power packed day of inspirational meetings and training sessions at the Ingram Micro Cloud Summit. Master of Ceremonies Don Allison from The Mark of a Leader, Inc. started out the day with an inspiring message about the true story of Roger Bannister, the first human to break the 4-minute-mile record. What makes Bannister’s victory relevant is the fact that he didn’t just work harder to achieve his goal, he assembled a strong team. Specifically, he selected a good coach and two other top-notch runners whose job was to set and maintain the pace for Bannister as he prepared to beat the record. Allison showed actual footage of the race, which took place in 1954, along with commentary from Bannister highlighting what he was thinking along the way.
The part of the story that was most impactful for me was watching Bannister’s teammate Don Macmillan, whose sole responsibility was to set the pace for Bannister for the first half of the race. Early on Bannister feels that the pace is too slow, so he yells up to Macmillan to “speed up.” Macmillan, however, knows his role in this process and he sticks with the plan. After completing 2 ½ laps around the track, Macmillan drops back and Chris Brasher, another teammate who had been jogging to conserve his energy speeds up to take the lead.
Even though Bannister is the one who becomes immortalized in the history books, it was truly a team effort that led to the victory. Some of the biggest failures in business occur because a business owner thinks the entire responsibility of success or failure rests solely on his or her shoulders. Roger Bannister’s example shows that working harder isn’t always the answer to success; rather, it’s about surrounding yourself with competent people with a similar vision who are humble enough to put the goals of the team ahead of their own personal ambitions. Bannister’s story also speaks volumes to the fact that psychological barriers can be every bit as real as physical ones. What a perfect analogy for your cloud business. There are tons of VARs and MSPs out there who are convinced that the cloud is going to be the death of their businesses. Then, there are those that see their business landscape changing, so they make the choice to attend an event like the Cloud Summit and figure out how they can adapt their businesses to the changing IT world and learn to embrace the mantra “All Sky. No Limit.” Which kind of IT solutions provider are you? The answer to this question ties in with one other point Allison brought up during his presentation — an aphorism attributed to Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.”