Learning to Walk Before You Try to Run

According to an old proverb, we should learn to walk before we try to run.

This suggests that we must first understand what we are attempting to accomplish before attempting to accelerate it.

If we don’t accomplish that, we won’t have grasped the task’s principles and won’t be able to construct a solid foundation.

This is like building a car and not tightening the wheel nuts sufficiently, then when we speed up, at some point the wheels will fall off and it can lead to a disaster.

I find that this is a very common occurrence in IT, where there is a strong focus on identifying the software package to support the process, rather than on the process itself.

There is a solid drive to automate the process, rather than optimise.

But faster doesn`t always mean optimal. If the process is chaotic but manageable at low speeds; once it’s automated we have just automated chaos.

We need to eliminate the chaos from the process before we automate it. This may actually mean slowing it down and mastering it at a walking pace, then once we have optimised the process, only then should we look to automate.

This was reinforced to me as I got a running coach to help me with my preparation for the Marathon, it was supposed to be a session where he would give me advice on nutrition and hydration, as you cannot complete the marathon without eating and drinking.

But before we started that, he said, let’s look at your running form, so I jogged 100m.

To my surprise he said to me, that if you don`t improve your running style you will struggle to complete the marathon, your running is inefficient, it`s taking too much energy and this will put too much strain on your muscles.

He told me I needed to slow down my running and teach my body to run in a fat-burning mode as this would help me conserve energy, and then slowly build up the speed as my body got used to working in this mode.

If I didn`t do that, I would be able to run quickly but my body would be in the wrong mode i.e.carb burning mode, and I wouldn`t be able to sustain it for 42km, maybe it would get to 30km or so, but then I would really start to struggle.

If we don`t learn to walk correctly, before we run, especially with our business processes, then we are in danger of automating chaos.

No business is looking for automated chaos.

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