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  • Writer's pictureJack Mullaney

The Same Direction

Early last week, a foot of snow fell in Portland. It was, by far, the largest accumulation since I moved here back in 2017.

With the condensed, erratic cross country and track season in full swing, we needed a place to train until the snow melted. Having grown up in Minnesota, shoveling driveways is a sport to me, so I decided to go clear off our track.

15 minutes in, I had cleared 15 meters. This was the water-logged, heavy stuff.

I did some quick math. At this rate, I'd be out here for six hours and 40 minutes.

So I texted the team, borrowed some shovels, and set a time to gather.

With about 30 people, lane one was spotless in 15 minutes.


There's a Twitter account I enjoy. It's called Visualize Value, and it's a consulting business made famous by posting memes that simplify productivity concepts.

They recently tweeted the following image with the caption: Direction > Effort

It made me think about last week - how slowly I was removing snow from the track, and subsequently, how quickly it was cleared when everyone was there, aligned in the same direction.

It also made me think about what makes an effective team. Sometimes, the barrier to success is more about unifying the direction than increasing the effort.

On my own, I could've potentially upped my game and cleared the track in under six hours.

But instead, with others working on the same objective, nobody had to try harder.

And the track was clear in 15 minutes.

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