He will be too busy to say, and definitely too modest, but Collins Hume Partner and CPA Christopher Atkinson recently completed his fifth 8-hour adventure race this year, on top of the well-known Tough Mudder!
What makes Chris tick when it comes to his own physical performance, and how might that translate to running a successful business?
"My interest evolved over many years, starting with hiking which led to 24-hour hiking, Kokoda challenges and ultimately the Kokoda Track," says Chris. "Then I found myself asking 'what's next' which is when I met a few like-minded locals and jumped into adventure racing."
Chris is relatively new to the sport. He only started training 12 months ago and this is his first season of competing.
"I had a good base physically and do plenty of rigorous preparation leading up to each event - kayaking, mountain biking and running regularly. My last three events have been 8-hour versions so endurance requires more training so I don't seize up on the day."
Back in the office, Chris' own prep and planning very much applies to how he approaches working with business owners.
"Even though every race format is different, the overriding skill is orientation and map reading, essentially adapting to the changing environment. You need to make decisions based on a set of dynamics prone to change. If you can't find a checkpoint, you check your base and then change your strategy."
"Cash flow squeeze in business is similar - there's got to be a trigger in your forecasting to change what you're doing now and adapt. Overthinking is also a factor - you've got to try and keep things simple and achievable."
In business, having a CEO review opportunities and conduct proper risk assessments is typical. For smaller enterprises, using Chris and Collins Hume as a sounding board for an external perspective to raise any red flags is good business practice.
Always be out in front, not looking in the rear view mirror
"An important part of adventure racing is constantly communicating with your teammate on location and destination. Like a rally navigator and driver or having a good golf caddy, it helps you avoid fatigue, especially if you're still learning the game."
"Similarly, owning a business is an endurance activity so it's not uncommon to get fatigued and make mistakes."
"Typically you get fatigued when you're out of control, when you lose impetus or when apathy creeps in for example when misalignment between business owners or a lack of the right skills makes you tired so the messaging gets muddled or lost."
It's then you need to freshen things up
"In adventure racing it's about mixing up the right fuel for your body at the right times and being properly trained for endurance. In business that translates to having mentors to stimulate you, the right mix of people and talent to propel your business processes and engendering the best culture in your organisation."
And Chris is not shy when it comes to advocating hard work both physically and commercially.
"Commitment is the overriding thing", he says. "If you're not committed then you just can't do it or you'd be foolish to try."
"You're only going to hurt yourself and let down your teammates."
Chris' last adventure-race was two weeks ago and he completed the Tough Mudder
on QLD's Sunshine Coast course before that. His best result was at the iAdventure
8 Hour where he came fourth in the open male and was seventh overall. He knows how the pressures of daily business life can often mean strategic planning takes a back seat - but to have a successful business you must plan ahead.
Talk with Chris and his team about establishing a strategic plan that looks at where you want your business to be and exactly how you and your team can get there. 02 6686 3000.
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