Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 158 May 2023 | Page 26

MANN the running mann by STUART MANN


MANN the running mann by STUART MANN

Beer Belly Blues

I normally get my running fix from running marathons and ultras , but due to an injury , I have not done much running of late . Instead , I ’ ve had plenty of time to write about my favourite sport , running , while enjoying my favourite beverage , beer , and that , friends , is how we arrive at this month ’ s column on how my big , fat beer belly helps explain quarterly objectives .


couldn ’ t remember the last time that I had the occasion to wear my smart black suit pants , but it was well before the start of COVID . More recently , International Breast Cancer Awareness Day last October provided the catalyst to examine a forgotten part of my closet and ‘ dress smart ’ for a change . The dress code was a simple “ wear pink ,” so out came my suave pink dress shirt and matching tie that I bought in Rome many years ago . ( Sidenote : They say , when in Rome , run the Rome Marathon … which is exactly what I did .)
My wardrobe is limited to exactly one pink shirt and one pink tie , but I have many pairs of smart black pants . The excitement for dress-up day at work quickly turned to consternation , however , as I steadily worked my way through the closet and realised that none of my black pants fit anymore . I knew I had put on a little weight during the pandemic , but I had no idea the true extent of my waistline expansion .
Finally , having squeezed into the pair possessing the strongest buttons , I headed to the office knowing that I would be practising enforced intermittent fasting for the rest of the day , so as not to put further pressure on my diaphragm and the stitching of my pants . As someone who has worn the same size pants since varsity , this experience came as a huge shock !
Aligning to Strategic Themes
Now , I spend a lot of time coaching the teams I work with on how to write valuable quarterly PI ( Program Increment ) Objectives . Therefore , I decided to take a spoonful of my own medicine and apply the same techniques , so that I could fit back into my smart black pants again .
Ideally you should start with a strategic theme that is aligned to your overall vision . If you were an automotive manufacturer , a possible vision is to be the first carbon neutral automotive manufacturer in the world , whilst a related strategic theme might be to power your cars using solar energy .
As an obsessive marathon runner , my personal vision is to run every marathon in South Africa , which would fit nicely under a “ health and wellness ” strategic theme . Objectives should relate back to strategic themes , be SMART ( Specific , Measurable , Achievable , Realistic and Timebound ) and be clear expressions of value .
Understanding the Local Context
When writing objectives , it is important to understand the local context and constraints to ensure that they are practical , realistic and well aligned to a strategic
Images : Courtesy Stuart Mann
26 ISSUE 158 | www . modernathlete . co . za
The Running Mann enjoying a post-run beer at the Durban City Marathon