RX it or Go For Endurance

by

dumb bells on whiteFor those who know me well, you know I am 100% addicted to CrossFit. CrossFit is a high intensity workout that has absolutely been the core of my personal transformation from 30lbs overweight and 20%+ body fat to less than 15% body fat and overweight being a thing of the past.  CrossFit is a mental game and it’s a personal commitment.  Most importantly, though, it requires sound judgement, because you can get hurt.

This morning, my workout of the day (WoD) seemed innocuous on paper:

4 rounds
10 Power Snatch (95/65)
20 Box Jump (24/20)
25 KB Swings (53/35)

Some of this must sound like CrossFit-ese to you, but to put it in layman’s terms:

  • do an Olympic lift called a Power Snatch with 95 lbs (45lb bar + 25lb plates*2 on the bar).  That value is what we called the RX weight.  It’s the weight you should strive to stay at as you workout.  Of course, as you can see, in addition to the other weights designated here, you have do that lift 10 times in a single round – ideally unbroken.
  • When you’re done with that, do 20 box jumps (literally jumping onto a box)
  • and then finish the round with 25 swings of a kettle bell – again the weight to the right means that men should ideally be able to completely the round swinging a 53 lb kettle bell.  And, oh, by the way, you need to do this all for time.  Yes, the weight to the right is the “women’s” weight…but I have seen some women smoke me on weight…so whatever….

This morning, I was faced with a dilemma.  After round 2 at the RX weights, I was tired under the weight of both the barbell and the kettle bell.  I had to make a quick decision because the clock was ticking:  do I push through and just slow down?  Or, do I drop the weights and keep going for time?

  • If I push through, I am going to build strength.
  • If I drop the weights, I’ll keep up the momentum and have a more cardiovascular focused workout, but will sacrifice the opportunity to build the strength that staying at the RX weight would provide.

My coach saw the dilemma I was faced with, too.  She saw that I was already slowing down and almost recommended that I not drop the weights, but in the end she chose to let me make my own choice.

Hmm…push through or reduce the difficulty to get a better time.  Sounds a lot like “accept the existing scope, risk quality and potentially still miss the mark?” or “reduce the scope and make the date?”…right?

How many times as Project Managers have you been faced with this primordial debate?  Two or three times for me this week and it’s only Monday!  And the reality is that the answer lies in the eyes of what the business will accept.  Often times, the scope is immutable and you just have to lean in, fight the pain and persevere – this, too shall pass and your team can sleep on the other side.  Other times, the date is more important than the scope, your team can focus on delivering on time, by sacrificing some function for proper form.

The choice I made this morning was that I’d rather finish in 20 minutes than finish in 40. Also I could feel that my form was giving way to bad habits.  My back was curving.  I stopped feeling safe.  It was better for me (I thought) to focus on form and build myself up to the RX weight at the requisite amount of reps and rounds.  It was a judgement call, admittedly.  After the workout, we did a quick Sprint Retrospective and there were clearly people on either side of my decision.

In my professional life, these are the judgement calls I am constantly faced with as a Project Manager.  Just as I gauged my belief in myself at my CrossFit gym; in the workplace, I have to balance what the business is requesting with what my team is capable of doing.  It’s about the people and what’s inside them.  Some teams can burn the midnight oil without sacrifice to quality.  Others, need more time.  You could push them, but the output will not reflect the best they can do.  In these moments, it might be better negotiate with your business sponsor a solution that delivers the full scope but at a slower rate.  The theory here is that the business will never forget poor quality, but a re-negotiated date can often fade in people’s memories.

Just like this morning, there are no easy answers, just judgment calls made in the middle of the workout. Some days you’ll “RX” it and finish strong.  Other days you’ll have to accept reality and “lower the scope” to make sure you deliver a less robust product in a more acceptable time frame.   The key is to know the signs of a project in distress.  Analyze the risk indicators early and try to correct them as early as possible.  Know your people.  Make the right decision – not necessarily always the one that feels good…but the right one to make.  And lead with confidence.

Happy PMP’ing!

Jonathan Goldstein
McKinney, Texas

 

READ MORE

Shifting Perspectives: 3 Learnings From a 3-Day Training

Shifting Perspectives: 3 Learnings From a 3-Day Training

About a week ago, I completed the second live (virtual) training in the process of becoming a Certified Professional Coach through iPEC. Once again, my mind was blown! It reinforced for me that virtual workshops can, and do, work, and, in a lot of ways, I prefer them...

read more
Finding My Work-Life Balance

Finding My Work-Life Balance

In my previous post, I told the story of how I got back into consulting after becoming a mom. All of the diverse experiences I had during that journey have helped me to find my work-life balance by… Defining Boundaries “Go home,” my first boss said 12 years back —...

read more
How I Got Back to Work After Being a Full-Time Mom

How I Got Back to Work After Being a Full-Time Mom

I Landed My Dream Job Throwback to 2014, I had completed my MBA, landed my dream job as a consultant, and was hoping that my new consulting career would exponentially ramp up my career growth for the next 5 years. This would position me to take on critical decision...

read more
Self-Awareness is Key to Belonging

Self-Awareness is Key to Belonging

In August of this year, as part of our annual company meeting, our team at Thought Ensemble participated in the foundational session of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training led by Dr. Nika White, IOM, CDE (she/her/hers). One of the most meaningful moments...

read more
Finding Your Organization’s Magic Pixie Dust

Finding Your Organization’s Magic Pixie Dust

It is often said that organizational culture is like a fog — it is all around us; it impacts our ability to see, to move quickly, and to deliver; but we cannot quite put our finger on it. Indeed, some organizations see their culture as a byproduct of operations,...

read more
We’ve Refreshed Our Brand!

We’ve Refreshed Our Brand!

Why have we refreshed our brand, you ask? Well, as we have grown and matured as an organization, we felt that our previous brand elements no longer represented us as well as they could. You see, we founded Thought Ensemble back in 2008 to help companies better compete...

read more
Thought Ensemble’s Purpose — Inspired in 2020

Thought Ensemble’s Purpose — Inspired in 2020

I recently wrote about how company purpose is being tested and inspired by all the events of 2020. This topic is very real for us at Thought Ensemble. We’ve been thinking a lot about what really matters as we’ve navigated the...

read more
How 2020 Is Testing and Inspiring Corporate Purpose

How 2020 Is Testing and Inspiring Corporate Purpose

In August 2019, the Business Roundtable rewrote their statement of corporate purpose. I followed this with significant interest being that I have never forgotten the debates about corporate purpose in business school almost two decades ago. We were taught that the...

read more
Why Purpose-Driven Organizations May Struggle With Change

Why Purpose-Driven Organizations May Struggle With Change

I love working with companies who really want to make a difference, beyond just making money for their shareholders. I mean, making money is fun and all, but it is even more rewarding to join in on a just cause. Plus, as this HBR article explains, companies who have...

read more