There’s a moment familiar to many long-distance runners when momentum can go either way. The road that lies ahead feels harder than the ground covered. The choice is simple: to let the past create drag and slow the pace, or embrace the challenge of the road ahead feeling empowered by what you have already accomplished.

The American Civil War Museum (ACWM) recently completed what passes for a marathon in the world of museums. After years of dreaming, and working, they opened the doors to a brand new museum building focused on a clear account of the causes, impacts and after-effects of the Civil War. (Not up to date on this major milestone? Check it out here.)

While running can be a solo activity, there is power in running with a team. The power of a team comes from a shared commitment to finish the race. We recently convened the ACWM team to search for alignment and energy as they prepare for the next chapter in their journey. That is a team that is running together. 

Using Insights® Discovery as a starting place, we created room to run for 30 people to explore ways to strengthen their performance going forward. All 30 invested energy and perspective in the conversation, and all 30 left with increased alignment and clarity.

The team agreed on four key behaviors they believed would help the museum, and their own work teams, run more smoothly. They could have stopped there. Many teams do, but we then asked them to go a step further in their work teams, and individually, by identifying specific changes they would put into place to strengthen their commitment.

Making commitments together requires team support and accountability. Relying on a team to help you cross the finish line requires trust, openness, and vulnerability. It requires some runners to slow their pace, while others press harder. It invites a commitment to seeing everyone finish the race.

By creating shared commitments, the American Civil War Museum team is better prepared to run their next marathon. Having endured a challenging run, clearing the finish line as a team is a moment to celebrate – and feel inspired to keep running.