Success isn’t reasonable. Why should your quest for it attempt to be so?
All across America as millions of business people head back to the office for another week of the “the grind”, leaders are faced with a universal question: “How much should they expect from their people?” How much is enough?”
Conventional wisdom say that if you push employees too hard that they burn out or leave, creating a business momentum problem. The problem goes deeper than that too.
High turn-over creates a toxic work environment, which in turn makes it harder for you to hire away amazing executives from competitors. Your industry knows that you run a “sweat factory” and tend to avoid you.
As well perceptive clients in your indutry know that something is off with your business. They keep getting new people to work with. Each time they have to start over building a relationship with the person who translates their concerns back to the rest of your organization. That easily becomes annoying. And makes it natural for them to jump to your competitor at the first chance possible.
But that doesn’t make you wrong.
It’s not unreasonable for you to ask your employees to act heroically on a daily basis.
After all, success isn’t reasonable. Why should your quest for it attempt to be so?
Push your team to do the impossible. To be relentlessly amazing. Day after day after day….. after day. You too, right there beside them. Attempting the impossible.
The secret to getting better results instead of burnout is simple, yet often overlooked — communication.
In early 335 B.C., Alexander the Great began his quest for world domination. No other ruler had the passion for conquest like Alexander. Not even his father, Philip II of Macedon, who had expanded the Greek empire further than any king before him.
After ten years of fighting, Alexander arrived at the edge of India without having lost a single battle. His army controlled most of the known world at that time — Greece, Egypt, and what had been the Persian empire. But Alexander wanted more.
The problem was that his men were tired. They had followed him for ten years — fighting thousands of miles across lower Europe, into Africa, and to the edge of the Middle East. Far away from families and wives, they languished in fatigue, without the rage to conquer another empire.
On the eve of battle, Alexander gathered his men together and delivered an impassioned speech : “I observe, gentlemen, that when I would lead you on a new venture you no longer follow me with your old spirit. I have asked you to meet me that we may come to a decision together: are we, upon my advice, to go forward, or, upon yours, to turn back? I will make those that go, the envy of those who stay…”
The king’s speech inspired his men to push into India, wrestling control of a country that no other ruler had been able to master.
Without communicating the cause, Alexander’s army was burned out — tired, fatigued, emotionally weak.
It was the words of a leader with sword drawn that enabled them to do what no army in the world had ever been able to do yet.
It’s a lesson worth remembering. If you want twice as much from your team, you have to communicate twice as much.
Daily. Hourly. Sometimes every few minutes.
And a lot of leaders don’t see that as a good use of their time. You might not either.
So you’ll just complain about your team not achieving and hire another soldier, who is even less likely to put up with your emotional shenanigans.
Speak up general. If your cause is worth the conquest, your team will fight for you.
And the victory will be glorious.
It’s your words they wait for.