Business Lessons From Orienteering

I did an orienteering race a couple of weeks ago.  The aim is to use your skill and judgement at navigating the hills to get to as many ‘checkpoints’ as possible.  The weather was interesting, starting with perfect conditions which gradually descended into a snow storm.  But It’s always great to be on the moors whatever the weather.  What has this to do with business?:

You need to know where you are going.  To find the checkpoints you needed to plan which ones you would do in what order.

You needed to work out the easiest way to get the results you want.  To get to the checkpoint you can go the most direct route, but that might take you up and down hills, across rivers or open moors.  Much better to look for the easiest way to reach your destination, taking footpaths and thinking about the obstacles you need to get round.

Stamina counts.  The race was for 3.5 hours, so it was no sprint, you needed to conserve your energy so you could continue to perform mile after mile.  Sprinting off at the beginning and exhausting yourself would not have worked.

Time matters.  There were penalties if you got back late, so completing your goals in a timely manner really mattered.  As in business good enough is good enough (incidentally quick and bad is never good enough!).

I guess it’s not just in business or in orienteering that these things matter, in many aspects of life, aiming for your goals, avoiding obstacles, persisting and doing things in a timely way are important.