Unfortunately, people don’t perform very well for very long at their limit; they burn up or burn out and you’ll find yourself more overwhelmed than before. Counterintuitively, the secret to exceptional performance and persistence is margin, and margin exists only when people are functioning below their absolute maximum capacity. If you want to get the most out of your team, you may need to recalibrate your concept of what it means to be “fully engaged” to include a little room.
Many leaders try to enlist others in their endeavors like infomercial spokespeople, by pitching the best deals they can describe. They think people will move in new directions or accept new ideas best if the cost appears inconsequential. So, they try to make any changes and investments sound as minimal or manageable as possible. Sweetening the deal like this might get things moving, but it also makes the “deal” fragile and prone to failure as soon as things get uncomfortable or demanding. And, let’s face it, every important or meaningful endeavor eventually gets uncomfortable and demanding. Here’s a better way to build buy-in…
Lately, I’ve been struggling to fit my life into my life; there’s too much of it, and too little of me… In the Season of the Fire Hose, life is too full, and the fire in people diminishes because they don’t have room to breathe. They find themselves gasping for air in the wash of everything they have to do and they’re desperately in need of something called “margin”.
Individuals and organizations often settle for a more preferable version of the truth that is tempered or tailored by the use of alternative reference points. They don't even know they’re doing it, but as a result, the real reality, gets misunderstood or missed altogether to the detriment of their success. Leaders are wise to be wary of the ways we seek to reshape reality with preferable reference points like these…
It’s easy to say too much, press too hard, or hold on too long when you care deeply about anything or anyone, and it’s hard to know when to stop. If you don’t know when to quit, you can end up frustrating or hurting the very people, projects, and principles you’re trying to champion. Here are some contexts where it’s important to know when to stop.
If you’re a “leader” now, I’ll bet you were a great “doer” in the past. Your inclination to take charge and get busy distinguished you from the other doers and won you the opportunity to lead. Unfortunately, the same do-it-yourself attitude that made you a great doer can make you a lousy leader because leaders and doers handle power in different ways.
This is an abiding riddle of leadership: some things stick like glue with no effort, almost accidentally, while others defy even your best efforts to keep them alive and in front of your people. I confess, I haven’t figured it all out yet, but here are four Secrets to Stickiness that will help you boost the staying power of your words and ideas.