Pacific Crest Trail Hikers – Now That’s Human Performance!

May in Idyllwild, California is marked by the Pacific Crest Trail hikers who are coming through town. I love this time of year and admire these “through-hikers” who are only a few weeks into their 2650 mile journey from Mexico to Canada.

This morning I realized that I can demonstrate the elements required for stellar employee performance using the PCT. In this example the hiker is the “employee” and hiking the PCT is their job:

1. Clarity of Goals – Hike the entire PCT trail from Mexico to Canada.
2. Capacity – the hiker must have adequate time as well as mental, physical and spiritual fitness.
3. Processes and Tools – trail map, well-marked trail, ultra-lite equipment, supplies, clothing.
4. Skills and Knowledge – prior backpacking experience, books and websites written by veteran hikers.
5. Feedback – what their bodies are telling them and the advice of other PCT hikers.
6. Incentives and Consequences – Trail “angels” provide food, water and shelter. Bad decisions cause delays and danger.

These elements are inspired by the book by Thomas Gilbert entitled Human Competence, Engineering Human Performance.. Try applying them to your own job. Do you have all the elements required to succeed?

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