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Posts Tagged ‘human resources’

Not All Levels Of Transparency Are Created Equal…

March 13th, 2017 Comments off

Transparency

Over time it’s always interesting to see how individuals and organizations define and operate under varying levels of “transparency”. These insights may take weeks to play out or may ultimately take years. While I will agree out of the gate that there should be varying levels, depending on the sensitivity of the underlying data, an extremely high percentage of transparency should exist within an organization to build trust with internal and external customers, as well as investors and other key constituents. In summary, Transparency should be defined as…

a :  free from pretense or deceit : 

b :  easily detected or seen through : 

c :  readily understood

d :  characterized by visibility or accessibility of information especially concerning business practices

As mentioned, there are always certain types of information that need to be contained to a small group depending on the level of sensitivity, but 98% of discussions should be open and collaborative with the broader team. Are you planning a reduction in force that may cross over multiple departments…then yes, that is going to require an incredibly amount of sensitivity and confined to a small group in the planning of the event. Releasing this information to the broader group would result in a paralyzing decrease in productivity across the teams and produce undue anxiety for those that aren’t affected. Absolutely painful, but these are actions that need to be controlled with military precision.

Are you doing an IPO? The group in the know on this activity obviously widens as it becomes necessary to involve more people in the process as you continue to bolster internal functions, coordinate functional area contributions to the drafting of an S-1 and the characterization of the business, working with investors, bankers, and legal partners. A large group…absolutely, but still a relatively combined group of folks. Will there be leaks in this pool and others find out…absolutely. But again, not necessarily doing regular updates out to the broader organization and discussing in an open environment in a regular cadence.

I’m really not a fan or subscriber of playing semantics with certain topics. The allowance of “access” or inclusion in a meeting or systems is also not equal to transparency. It’s just exactly that…access or inclusion. You may be given access to a courtroom to view a criminal case, but that doesn’t mean that you’re given access to all the details of the files held by the defense and prosecution, but you have “access”. In a corporate environment, that absence of financial information, historical activities, investor information, or operational performance will simply result in the failure of a team to succeed…period.

When it comes to strategic planning, hiring, geographic expansion, financial performance, facilities expansion, or other operational initiatives, there’s no reason not to be working in a fully transparent manner to build trust and effective collaboration across the teams. It’s not about spinning the information or results to create a sense of vagueness of lack of definition for the team, or withhold information that creates a hurdle in allowing the team to make a fully informed decision. Ultimately, as reflected in the definition above, any level of deceit will always be discovered and the subsequent erosion of trust can seldom be recovered.

This is not a topic that should require extensive discussion…it comes down to just recognizing the DNA of an individual or organization. For a team, and ultimately an organization to succeed, there needs to an environment free of pretense and deceit, an environment that is easily translated and readily understood, and is characterized by high visibility & accessibility of information concerning the vast majority of business results and practices. It’s an insightful walk to observe how different people and organizations promote these conditions, but in the end, it’s critical for the success of the team, company, and ultimately promoting a healthy environment of trust and collaboration.

Thanks for reading and sharing in my walk…

Jeffrey Ishmael

Preserving Culture & Success In a Hyper Growth Environment…

February 22nd, 2017 Comments off

After my departure from Cylance, one of the biggest topics that I’ve been asked about, and given extensive consideration to, has been that of culture and how you preserve the success factors that were part of the early stages. Cylance was started with some key cultural goals in mind, which were primarily based on the disdain and avoidance of silos and politics. We had all experienced it at larger companies. The early efforts and decisions were all focused on the building of a product that would change an industry…nothing else mattered and everyone was committed to that vision.

As we had shared with investors, analysts, and media, it took us the better part of 3 years to reach 115 employees. There was a focus on our burn and regulating our spend in a prudent…and almost surgical manner. It then took another year to grow our employee base to 450. Even this number, while certainly aggressive, did not give us an undue amount of concern. Yes, we did tap the brakes a few times to make sure our billings were continuing to trend as they were…multiples above our original plan. However, as I’ve discussed in prior posts, we were also focused on making sure the underlying metrics of billings and revenues per employee were also continuing to trend upward, as well as ensuring that our cash burn was in the confines of the original plan. Some might take the view that a tripling our headcount was an unhealthy growth, but we were cognizant of the number increase and actively discussing the potential risks with our key investors. We wanted to learn from their other portfolio companies and couldn’t afford the distraction of having to correct course under the trajectory we were on.

Let’s take that tripling of headcount and why that wasn’t necessarily an unhealthy number. When you look at the hiring of 335 over the course of a year that equates to 6.5 people per week that are hired in across every functional area…Sales, Marketing, Engineering, Research, etc. While the new hires might be coming in with some of the “corporate baggage” from the larger companies, there was a significantly larger number of incumbents that are able to offset that influence, properly onboard the new employees, and successfully indoctrinate them into the culture that had been the foundation of our success. Even in the latter part of the year, when you’re bringing in the other 165 hires, you still have a fairly large & established group that can help in the absorption and molding of new employees. Will you make some mistakes in hiring? Absolutely. But you also need to take the necessary steps to course correct early on. I also believe, but wasn’t successful in enforcing, was the need to have hiring managers outline the roles & responsibilities for their newly requested hires, which would later play into assessing the quality of their delivery, and ultimately, qualifying their work relative to bonus payouts. This was an extreme challenge as we were also confronted with a trajectory that was multiples of our original plan, which meant that we also were having to manage headcount growth that was nowhere near the original plan, or the first revision…or the second or third revisions. You get the picture…hyper growth demands quick reaction.

The biggest question though is where does the process actually break? What is the percentage of “tenured” incumbents that need to be present relative to hyper hiring…and is this even a valid statistic? This becomes the key question when you find yourself in a Quarter where headcount grows by 50% and there is a push to increase an incremental 30% the following Quarter…or effectively doubling your headcount growth in two Quarters. When you start hiring at the rate of not 6.5 new hires per week, but 18 per week…and then mix new hires with an equally new group of individuals who have not fully adopted the success elements of the existing culture. New hires, who when combined with undefined roles & responsibilities and a lack of guidance, are treading water at best and not sure how to direct their efforts in the rapidly expanding environment they just got tossed into. Combine the cultural challenge with the financial challenge where the majority of the cash flow is affected by headcount and how the Company is then performing relative to the billings and revenues per employee…and the cash burn metrics that have been committed to the Board. It’s all about keeping an engineered and discipline approach, but balanced with the unplanned needs of the business. There is no textbook approach in hyper growth and you can’t look to your past experiences to guide you through this scenario because in all likelihood…you haven’t been there. Ultimately, the success will be predicated on keeping successful communications going with the team, healthy collaborations, and knowing the pulse of the business…PERIOD. In the absence of these your destined for performance mediocrity, or worse yet, course corrections that will affect morale and momentum.

Thanks for reading…

Jeffrey Ishmael

Do You Have a Compass For Your Journey…?

November 13th, 2013 Comments off

I’ve written before about the criticality of having  not only the right systems in place, but having them planned and configured in a manner that will yield the highest quality information that you can use to make your daily decisions. Although I have always worked in relatively lean environments and have always had to have a strong level of self-sufficiency, I’ve come to appreciate the quality of good information even more working in a start-up environment and having to ensure that every resource deployed ($$$) is being done so in the most productive manner.

For our company, our biggest asset, or conversely, our biggest liability, is the people that have come to work for us. We are still a small enough company that every hire must not only have the appropriate experience and skills, but also be able to integrate in with the rest of the team. Even then, the need to hire must be quantified as much as possible and have the appropriate data and long-term plan to support each new position. While this might seem a pretty simple and somewhat rhetorical point of view, its application is a bit harder in a start-up environment. While there has always been the specific business plan in place, many of the early hires were done so at a “gut” level with the belief that they would support the mission and make the necessary contributions.

As the company has moved from living room start-up to growing revenues, it’s been extremely satisfying to be able to have the data that honestly supports the hiring of new positions. Data that is the product of systems that were planned, implemented, and have evolved with the growth of the company. Data that looks at everything from the opportunity pipeline that Sales is working on, to projects currently being scheduled for delivery, the manner in which our consultants are spending their time, to the necessary time our consultants support the Sales team.

We can now look at the time that our folks are spending on both internal and external projects and make informed decisions on when to hire and what specific skills need to be hired in order to support the current team and developing opportunities. It’s certainly a win for the entire team when you can make a decision that is based on data and not based on gut or hope that an expected event will transpire. Although the timing may not always be ideal and the existing team might be taxed a bit longer, you’re ensuring that when the resources are finally deployed and you bring in a new employee that they will be there for the long haul and become part of the “family”.  After all, working in a start-up is no cakewalk and it’s the long days, accomplishments, and team camaraderie that ultimately deliver the success that everyone shares in.

Thanks for reading…

Jeffrey Ishmael

The Unconventionals….Assessing Team Additions

October 10th, 2013 Comments off

One of the larger challenges of managing the Finance side of the organization, which includes A/P, A/R, Accounting, and in some cases, HR and IT, is the multitude of personality and skill sets needed for each position. In some positions, say in the case of Controller, there is a typically a defined educational or work history that is required.  In other cases, the position may allow some level of latitude in the candidate hire with respect to their work history or absence of certain credentials. I’ve had a number of these hires over the previous companies I’ve worked with and I call them The Unconventionals. Unconventional in the respect that if the sole qualifier was the content of their resume then they probably wouldn’t make it to the interview stage.

With respect to my background, I might have been considered an unconventional hire when I joined MGE since the majority of my experience was in the Retail & Apparel industries and not Technology. I was also going to be tasked with the implementation of the IFRS reporting for the North American operations, for which I had no previous IFRS experience. However, I had an executive team that saw past that and look at other accomplishments and my personality to know that I would get the job done. Not only did the job get done, but we excelled in our continued performance during the 3+ years I was with the company. Perhaps it was this experience that has prompted me to adopt a similar approach in the identification and hiring of candidates.

While working at MGE, I had an opening for a Financial Analyst position. This position would typically call for 2-5 years of experience. However, I was introduced to a potential candidate who really didn’t possess any substantial finance or accounting experience. However, what I recognized was that he was a Marine and had worked with munitions. What I saw was not a candidate, who didn’t have the requisite experience, but someone who had a great work ethic, an attention to detail, and a commitment to team work.  I knew I could bring him up to speed and could trust that he would be a great ambassador internally for the team. In the following years, I hired him into a separate company I had subsequently moved to as a Finance Director, and most recently, he secured his first CFO position with a small action sports company.

While tasked with the turnaround of a small footwear company in San Diego, I had the need to bring in a staff accountant that would also oversee A/P and A/R. I was presented with a number of well qualified candidates. However, the one candidate who had the least amount of experience, with predominantly tax preparation history, was an Olympic level track runner. Knowing the work ethic and dedication required for the athletic endeavor, I knew she was my candidate. Over the subsequent years she not only excelled at that small company of $30 million in revenues, but moved to a larger action-sports company overseeing all accounting for the Canada entities. During this time she also secured her CPA certification and has become the Assistant Controller for an OC-based manufacturer.

At my current company, I had a drastic need to hire a Business Operations Analyst that could support me in the implementation of operating systems, HR functions, and the myriad of other financial reporting I was responsible for. I had a candidate recommended to me, who had previously done some project work for me at DC. On paper, he was green and a recent graduate from UCSB. However, I knew that based on the project work he had done for me that he had a solid work ethic and would likely be a solid team player if given the opportunity. He also had great attention to detail, which was critical since he’d be working quite a bit independently and I couldn’t afford slips in this area. He’s not only done fantastic work, but become a respected member of the Cylance team as a result of his contributions and work ethic.

Ultimately, these candidates have a much higher burden to perform as they have to be willing to go the extra step to earn the respect of the surrounding team. They’re held to the same level of accountability, and if they don’t perform, are also subject to potential dismissal. Although there is a first for everything, and I’m prepared to, I have yet to hire a non-performing candidate I’ve had to dismiss.

While perhaps unconventional, these hires are a direct reflection on me and my ability to deliver on the commitments I have made to the rest of the Executive team or the Board. The hiring of these candidates are a reflection on my department and my effectiveness in assessing candidate potential. When I take this approach, I have to have a comfort that any candidate I’m willing to support will be able to deliver and excel after I’ve brought them up to speed. Not only deliver on my requirements, but also be resourceful enough to potentially support other members of the Executive team. While I do all I can to keep my turnover low and promote internal candidates, there’s nothing more satisfying then seeing these same folks depart into a more prominent position.

Thanks for reading…

Jeffrey Ishmael

Working Remotely: Balancing Productivity vs Staying Connected…

August 28th, 2013 Comments off

It seems that no matter how much I think there should be a normal daily routine in corporate finance, there never is. Whether it’s the latest ad hoc reporting need, vendor emergency, or employee related issue…there just isn’t a normal day. I have a hard time accepting this since I have multiple family members who worked in Law Enforcement and I hear them talking about how there is NEVER a “normal day”. Using that same line seems a bit trivial for the work I do compared to them.  However, it really is the case and with the lack of a standardized schedule comes the challenges of fitting in the necessary daily operational tasks, as well as the countless extras that come with working in a start-up environment and wearing a half-dozen hats. Don’t get me wrong, I love all my hats I wear and they’re a necessity in our current environment. However, there is also a point reached where the daily tasks are backlogged, as are the ad hoc requests. At that point…time to consider alternatives.

It’s not something I resort to often, but I’ve taken the approach of basically going into “monk mode” and taking a 3-5 day out of office remote effort. No meetings, very few calls, and just focusing on the backlog of tasks. I have to say, this is a rather unique and somewhat uncomfortable approach for a Finance person. While the majority of our staff takes this approach within our company, it’s a very foreign approach for what I’ve become accustomed to. While it may only happen once every 1-2 months, it’s still a weird feeling. However, I have to say that it provides not only a nice balance to the constant Mach-5 speed we seem to be working at, but the break from meetings and calls provides a fantastic ability to focus on the list of deliverables and make some progress on key items that get bogged down in the daily minutiae.

Even more strange to consider is that almost all of our systems are cloud-based, which allows me to have an even higher level of productivity out of the office in the absence of constant schedule deviations. Provided you’re  not choosing a location where you’re hitting the local night spots, watching your favorite shows on cable, or some other distraction, you basically have nothing more to do than get caught up on the backlog…and write that past due blog 🙂

In all seriousness, with a cloud-based systems structure, I have the ability to stay connected and work on all accounting related needs, HR needs, monitor the progress of bookings, address important emails within minutes, and maintain the same dynamic systems structure I have at the office. Pretty darn amazing! All without the need of utilizing a VPN or being onsite for physical systems access. It’s certainly not an ability, or luxury, I would have envisioned even 5 years ago. To think I can have the same level of productivity on a remote basis is quite an amazing opportunity. The key is infusing a personal level of discipline that if you are going to work remote….you’re really going to get it done. As with everything else in my life, tasks are measured and my ability to deliver is measured.

Regardless of the progress, it’s still a strange & foreign feeling working remote. While I appreciate the gains in productivity, I can see how working on a remote basis would leave one feeling a bit disconnected from the energy and culture of the company. For me, doing this every 1-2 months would give me the edge to maintain productivity while not losing touch with the daily vibe. To do this more would leave me feeling somewhat disconnected from the pulse of the company and team. But then again, that is in perspective to the work I do and needing to check that pulse against the numbers I am seeing reflected in the system.

The challenge of increasing productivity, while working in a start-up, has forced me out of my comfort zones and to find approaches that will allow me to deliver, without taking the easy approach of hiring another consultant or lobbying for another position. Working remote, while absolutely strange, allows for the potential of a fantastic ROI if properly deployed.

Thanks for reading…

Jeffrey Ishmael

There Is No Immunity From Accountability…

March 1st, 2013 Comments off

Idealistic and possible or just a pipe dream? I’ve never started off one of my blog entries with a question, but I started thinking about this statement while out on one of my training rides. I started thinking about some of the past companies I had worked with and some of my “peers” that were responsible for specific divisions or line offerings, who Quarter after Quarter, continued to report results that were not only below an original Budget, but below what they had previously made a commitment to achieve. Not at just a revenue level, but at every level of the P&L. Dare I say “promised” to deliver? Ultimately, what led to the continued support of these individuals was either their relationship with a key executive, or in other cases, a lack of motivation and performance by their Director to make the necessary change. Without an inherent drive for results and improved performance there emerged a tolerance for mediocrity, which ultimately, affected the overall performance of the company.

Don’t get me wrong, it would be a pretty challenging situation to have a company full of relentless Type-A, performance driven individuals. There does need to be a balance in the composition of the staff, but there are also key positions, that in the absence of delivering on key initiatives have much broader implications to the performance of the company.

Whenever I have made a hire that comes from my direct network it’s a direct reflection on not only my responsibility as part of the executive team, but also a reflection on my reputation should that person not work out. Unfortunately for that person, they’ll actually have an even higher level of accountability to perform as I don’t want to have to walk out a hire that I was responsible for. I know it will happen eventually, but I’d like to delay that situation as long as possible. Regardless of whether they are part of my network, or I’ve grown up with them, or ride with them, they need to deliver on the roles and responsibilities for the position that they are being hired into. Without their delivery, they risk impacting the results of the company. There’s obviously an inherent responsibility on my part to ensure their skills are a match for the position, they possess the appropriate motivation, and if there are any deficiencies discovered in certain areas, it’s my responsibility to develop a development plan.

Moving forward, what happens when a hire is made and you’ve realized that the either the skills have been misrepresented or they are simply lacking the proper motivation to deliver what is expected. Very simply, it’s time to make a change before more resources are squandered and you’ve potentially jeopardized timelines or the commitment you’ve made to others. The situation is seldom black & white and easily interpreted. Is it a smaller start-up, as I’m currently working, or a multi-divisional corporation, as I’ve experienced in the past.

In the case of the start-up, there is little room to hide. There are no firewalls. Your deficiencies will quickly be seen if you fail to deliver. Make no mistake about it. You better be taking an honest look in the mirror before committing to a start-up.

A larger company? There’s certainly plenty of room to hide and work under the radar. In fact, if you’re a “friend of” someone, you can usually exploit that situation to do only what is needed to get by and likely sustain a stellar level of mediocrity. The other damage done here is that the skills shortfall is recognized sooner by surrounding colleagues and usually results in a lack of peripheral support in accomplishing departmental goals, which then further erodes morale. More often than not it either isn’t addressed or can take years to play out before a new catalyst is present to make the necessary changes.

I can only hope that in the future that I would promote an environment that allows a colleague to speak openly with me if one of my hires or a recommended candidate was not performing. My responsibility is to delivering the results that I have promised and not to create a de facto subsidy for colleagues who don’t have the skills or motivation to find a job on their own. I want to hire motivated, resourceful and performance driven individuals. What about you? Are you promoting immunity from accountability?

Thanks for reading…

Jeffrey Ishmael

What Is Your ROI As A Corporate Asset?

July 9th, 2012 Comments off

     We spend our time constantly assessing financial results, retooling forecasts, and debating the legitimacy of OpEx or CapEx spend. However, when was the last time that you sat back and calculated your personal ROI and the contribution margin you deliver for your company? Whether you are a candidate in transition, or a current member of the Executive team, are you ensuring that you are delivering the proper value?

      It’s rather easy to look at the majority of the positions in a company and determine the value those positions deliver.  Whether you are looking at overall revenue per employee metrics, new sales generated by a new channel manager, or the improvement of collections through a new Credit position, it’s a relatively basic calculation. However, what is the multiple you assign for senior Finance positions, particularly a CFO position?

     First, have you determined what the necessary overhead is to support your position? This will be an all inclusive figure that should include everything from salary, benefits, and other compensation….to any travel and related OpEx considerations. You need to figure out your “all-in” number.

     Second, are you clear about the expectations on your position? Are you being tasked with a turnaround, overall EBIT growth, or other projects that will result in improved operating metrics? Are you setting additional goals that will add to the EBIT-multiple your position will generate? Can you look back at your results over the last 2-3 years and see the value you were able to deliver as a result of your direct involvement and guidance?

     Although we are constantly dealing with nothing but firm metrics and comparisons against historical results, we have an obligation to deliver the highest achievable multiple for the investment that is being made for us to have a seat at the table. Whether that multiple is a 10x, 20x, or higher, you better be able to quantify what your contribution is…or will be. It’s absolutely critical to assume the role of asset rather than expense.

Thanks for reading…

Jeffrey Ishmael

You’re just now considering “Human Capital”…?

February 16th, 2009 Comments off

     With an 8-hour layover in the London-Heathrow airport I finally had a chance to catch up on so much of the reading I had fallen behind on. A more recent publication that I brought with me was the Feb-09 edition of CFO magazine. Needless to say, I was a surprised that one of the key articles was titled “How to Talk About Layoffs”. Are you joking? We’re essentially 17-months into slowdown that started back in Q4-07 and this leading publication is now talking about how to discuss the topics of layoffs, effective recruitment, and employee morale?  I’d say a bit late to the party.

 

     While I certainly wouldn’t confess to being on the leading edge of “Human Capital Management”, this area should always be an absolute area of focus for every CFO. Unless you are a very R&D intensive firm, the personnel portion of the operating budget is typically the largest consolidated expense within a company, especially when you consider all the peripheral expenses tied to this area. Perhaps I was also fortunate in that my first CFO stint had me working for a French manufacturing company, in which margins were thin, and we had to squeeze every bit of productivity we could out of existing personnel. Nor did we achieve the productivity with a Stalag 17 approach either. Our staff was able to maintain a great balance between their work and personal lives, but certainly delivered on our expected financial results.

 

     Recalling back to our FY06, FY07, and FY08 Budgets, I put a particular emphasis in my presentations to managers that had them questioning their staff and the contributions they were making. I had countless discussions where the message was that every person needed to have a contributory effect on the bottom line. We couldn’t afford to carry personnel that were simply an expense at the end of the day. Whether the contribution was improved quality controls, higher productivity levels in the field, or improved reporting for key-decision makers, we could not afford to carry “C-Players”.

 

     My concern for any Finance person who is only now starting to take a hard look at their personnel costs and get comfortable with “How to Talk About Layoffs” is that any actions at this point will be reactionary and likely not well thought out. I take a very hardline view of this area since employees are also the most important asset of the company. For any Finance person only now looking at this, I would see the sign of a Finance person who does not understand their business, long-term strategic planning, or the ability to properly deploy resources.  What a shame . . . .

 

Thanks for reading . . . .

 

Jeffrey Ishmael

You might have a sports coach, but what about a CFO coach?

November 19th, 2008 Comments off

With such a high level of uncertainty in the job markets I’m always keen to see what additional efforts I can take to sharpen my skillset, add more value to my current company, or expand my network. I learned a very hard lesson after my position was eliminated last year and found myself at a virtual ground zero with regards to contact data, my networking abilities, & the resources to conduct an effective job search. I discovered had to make new connections quick , and through these contacts, discovered new tools such as LinkedIn, Financial Executives International (FEI), and Financial Executives Networking Group (FENG). I also created this blog in Q1-08. It’s been a challenging year but I look back and I’m very pleased with the progress I have made.

Lately, I have been watching the Twitter postings and reading the blog entries of Cindy Kraft, who is more commonly known as the CFO Coach to her followers. I had a call with Cindy yesterday to discuss her services and what a client could expect from her should the decision be made to pursue a program. As I expected, and Cindy confirmed, we are not talking about a 4-week or 8-week program, but a longer term initiative that would be developed by both client and coach. Her approach is one of collaboration where the goals are continually reviewed and adjusted to accommodate any change in dynamics.

I spoke with Cindy about what the average candidate profile is and she mentioned that the average client is currently employed and they are looking to increase their professional skillset, both in and out of the office. She also mentioned that client engagements can range between an hourly rate and a monthly rate. With regards to her monthly rate, the expectation is that there is a weekly call that happens to ensure progress is being made on existing issues and to see if there are any new topics that need to be tabled and incorporated within the longer term plan.

For a group that is typically numbers-centric and not so high on the interpersonal skills, Cindy is one of those folks that can turn into a CFO’s best friend. When it comes to refining skillsets that will be used daily in the office, it’s a small price to pay to avoid morale issues or negative circumstance resulting from a situation that can easily be changed. For myself, it’s one of those steps that I’m strategizing to make sure that when I start I can capture the expected value and make the long-term commitment.

Thanks for reading . . . .

Jeffrey Ishmael

How do you measure your daily efforts?

August 27th, 2008 Comments off

A little less technical on the topic matter today, but sometimes the daily discussion calls for it. I was on one of my daily training rides, which if you know me you know how much cycling I do. I realized that the vast majority of my rides occur alone, early in the morning, to accommodate my professional obligations. For my training I use a Powertap wattage meter that tells me exactly how hard I am working. It tells me the specific wattage output for each ride. There’s simply no hiding from the number on a daily basis or longer-term trends. I can immediately tell if I’ve been slacking on the ride, or over the longer term. I have specific long-term goals for my training.

Recently I have started racing a series of Crits, which involves a closed course with a grouping of 50 riders or more. It’s very tightly grouped and not for the faint of heart. One of the known technicalities in a group ride is that you can preserve your energy by riding behind others and let them do the majority of the work. The effort that I put out on a solo ride might average 225w for a 2-4 hour period. If I’m riding in a group and staying in the middle or back portion of the pack, I might only average 160-170w. However, I’m not one to sit idle in the pack. I’m either going to chase down the breaks or instigate a break of my own and try and go off the front. At a minimum, I’ll try and do a fair amount of pace setting. At the end of a 1-hour race pace I will ultimately put in an average effort of 290-310w. And yes, I will spend a little time recovering inside the pack.
You can see the difference in efforts. What energy and effort are you going to bring to the pack? Are you simply going to be pack fill? You know where I’m going with this…

In a professional capacity, how do you measure your efforts with your team and what energy do you bring as a leader to the group or what actions provide the example? Are you going to be on your game and are you going to continue pushing yourself and increasing your level of performance? It’s very seldom that others can prompt you to instantly change your approach, but with hard work and “professional training”, every member of the team is capable of increasing the performance of the group. While we don’t have wattage meters at our disposal at work, we do know when we’re “pack fill” and letting others do the work, or driving peformance. Which are you?

Thanks for reading . . . .