After not having been for some time, I finally managed to get out on the slopes here in NH and get in some snowboarding. My previous outing had been at Whistler in British Columbia last year. In Whistler, the snow had been very deep and my board had been set up for the conditions. Here in NH, the snow was good but nowhere near as deep as at Whistler.On my first run my board didn’t feel right and I realized immediately that it was still set up for deep powder and I was now riding on packed snow with just a light covering.
For those of you who aren’t snowboarders, a snowboard is adjusted for different conditions by moving the bindings forward or backwards on the board. (The bindings are typically set further back when the snow is deeper.) On my board, this is done by removing 6 screws, moving the binding and then reinserting the 6 screws. Doing this necessitates unbuckling the bindings and unhooking the safety leash and stepping out of the bindings, finding a flat area in which to work, removing my gloves, getting out the screw driver out of my pack and finally doing the work. On a good day, it takes about 5 minutes or so. When it’s cold and windy and my fingers are numb and screws get dropped and the screw holes are full of ice it can take what seems like forever. It also cuts into riding time.
I should mention that on this particular day the temperature was around 14°F (10° C for our European friends) and the wind was blowing at about 20+mph. I definitely was not looking forward to spending time in the cold and the wind, sans gloves, making adjustments.
I stopped after my first run and made a pretty significant adjustment to the placement of the bindings, moving both the front and rear bindings forward about 1 ½ inches. It took about 10 minutes and my hands were pretty cold when I was done. I then took a run.
The board rode better but it was still not right. Despite not wanting to go through all that again, I reluctantly stopped again after my second run and again adjusted the bindings. But this time I moved only the rear binding, bringing it back ½ inch. This time went a bit quicker but as my fingers were already cold, they were now near frozen and I had to retreat to the lodge to allow them to thaw out. (And yeah, it would be nice if they allowed making adjustments inside…but they don’t.)
When I warmed up I took my next run and the board rode much better. I could feel the difference that the seemingly small adjustment made.
I took two more runs and the board was riding well…but it still felt just slightly off. So, knowing my fingers would get cold again and that I’d lose another 5-10 minutes of riding time, I stopped yet again and made what would turn out to be my final adjustment (yeah!). This time I moved the front binding back about ¼ of an inch (I also changed the slant of the binding ever so slightly. That did the trick as when I took my next run the board felt absolutely perfect. I smiled to myself knowing that stopping to make the final adjustment was well worth it, cold fingers and all, as the rest of the day’s riding would be so much better for having done so.
So, dear readers (and thanks for hanging with me here with this long tale) what’s this got to do with proposals? (‘Cause you know that’s why I related this story to you, right?) It’s this. Stopping to make adjustments, even seemingly minor ones, to your environment, your tools, etc, can make a big difference in how you perform and the results you’re able to achieve.
Now, you might be asking yourself, “Gee, I wonder what kind of adjustments BJ means? Well, it could be anything really. It could be a big change, like finding and moving to space which is more conducive to your work. Or it might be getting a new piece of equipment such as a larger monitor (Ask an editor who has switched to a large (27″+) monitor how much easier it is to edit documents.) Or it could be as simple as changing the lighting, adjusting your chair, using a different pen or markers, wearing more comfortable shoes, or just taking a break when needed (those who know us will tell you that Jon and I are VERY big on taking walks to work through a challenging issue.)
Too often, I’ve seen people so caught up in getting the work done that they don’t or won’t stop to make adjustments that would improve their performance. The time pressure they are under often causes people to feel they can’t afford the time to stop and make changes, even when they know the change will prove beneficial if they made it. (And this is when someone typically most needs to stop and make adjustment to gain effectiveness and/or efficiency.)
I’m sure many of you have made adjustments – major or minor – that have made a significant difference in how you work and the proposals you produce. We’d love to hear from you have you share what you’ve done with your fellow readers.