In a recent post, I shared with you the concept of “swing” that Daniel James Brown describes in his book The Boys in the Boat. Swing is that magic synchronicity great rowing teams achieve where every flex, pull and muscle twitch is perfectly aligned. It’s the secret to the success of teams that win championships. It’s also very similar to the kind of powerful alignment teams running their businesses on EOS®, the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, achieve.

The story doesn’t quite end there, however. After describing swing, Brown goes on to say this:

“A good swing does not necessarily make crews go faster, except to the extent that if no one’s actions check the run of the boat, rowers get more bang for their buck on each stroke. Mainly what it does is allow them to conserve power, to row at a lower stroke rate and still move through the water as effortlessly as possible, and often more rapidly than another crew rowing less efficiently at a higher rate. It allows them to possess a reserve of energy for a gut wrenching, muscle screaming sprint at the end of the race. It is insanely difficult to keep a good swing as you raise your rate. As the tempo increases, each of the myriad separate actions has to happen at shorter and shorter intervals, so that at some point it becomes virtually impossible to maintain a good swing at a high rate. But the closer a crew can come to that ideal—maintaining a good swing while rowing at a high rate—the closer they are to rowing on another plane, the plane on which champions row.”

For rowers, it turns out, the real benefit of swing isn’t that it makes you fast. You can do that though brute force—increased stroke rate and a harder pull on the oar. What swing really does is make you efficient. It helps you conserve energy while you’re moving fast, so that you’ll have a reserve of power when you really need it.

Daniel James Brown also reminds us that the goal isn’t perfection because no one, not even the very best teams, achieves that. The goal is to get as close to perfection as you can, for as long as you can, and to continually strive to do a little bit better.

Again, this is exactly what I see in the companies where I help implement EOS. They outpace their competitors while actually working less hard. So, when a real headwind hits—and it will—they aren’t burned out, and they have the energy and cohesion to cut through it. They aren’t perfect, but they review their performance on a regular basis and continually find ways to get stronger.

If you’d like that kind of performance in your business, let us know. It’s there for you, and we’d love to show you have you can have it.