At FPG we have this concept called the primary question. At everyone’s desks, they have their specific, tailored primary question on a poster written in bold letters. It might be, “How can I move one more sale forward today?” or “How can I increase the value of our brand today?”

The spirit of the primary question isn’t about specific tasks. Think of it like the filter your daily tasks runs through. When the things you do every day filter through your primary question, they should either fall through because they’re beneficial, or they should be filtered out and delegated. The key is that their primary question is filtering through the things you want, and filtering out the things you don’t. It’s a tool for efficiency and productivity at its heart, and it’s a system we swear by at FPG. It’s made us the company we are today.

My personal primary question? How can I be leading edge today. It seems like the US Olympic Committee and I have something in common in that regard.

This is a great time of year because the Winter Olympics are almost here. For most of us, that means it’s time to turn our attention to downhill skiing and bobsledding for the first time in four years. But for the thousands of athletes about to descend on the South Korean mountain city of PyeongChang, this has been four years – and most of a lifetime – in the making.

I’d like to direct your attention to a recent story in the Washington Postabout the US Olympic ski team’s preparation for the 2018 Olympics. This is pretty miraculous stuff.

The problem the ski team was facing is that they wouldn’t have that much training time on the actual slopes they’d see at the Olympics. The psychology behind repetition is that it makes our brains more chemically stable when we do something we’ve already done over and over again. Repetition goes a long way toward neutralizing the fight-or-flee response produced by our amygdala because we know what to expect. So when something unexpected happens, our brains are more ready and willing to improvise.

That’s a hugely beneficial skill in the Olympics. It’s a high-pressure event, and if you throw something unexpected into the mix, disaster can strike pretty quick.

It’s also a skill not many people are allowed to work on. Athletes only get so many cracks at the Olympic slopes before the lights turn on, so the US Olympic ski team improvised. What if we could use virtual reality to simulate exactly what our skiers will see, since we can’t physically conquer the mountain? This allowed them to map out the Olympic routes the skiers would need to take down the mountain without them actually needing to be on the mountain.

Tech company STRVR provided the technology, and here’s what their CEO Derek Belch on its use.

“In the case of what we’re doing for the ski team, it’s really a phenomenal use case. They will set a course a certain way for the Olympics and if they’re not prepared for it — for those fractions of a second they can shave by knowing where the gates are going to be and having a comfort level of what that mountain looks like — you’re at a huge disadvantage. This is something that we thought was a no-brainer use case as far as creating a competitive advantage.”

This is exactly what leading edge looks like, which is why it fired me up and activated the learning and growing part of my brain. This is the purpose of the primary question. When your primary question directly feeds what you love and want to do, then you’ll be able to do amazing things.

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