Michael Jordan set the tone for this week with his quote: “I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
It’s mid-October which means there are about eight good weeks of work left in the year for the US market. Thanksgiving wipes out the end of November and December is good for about ten days then it’s over. This year will be a wrap.
Yesterday, I read an article from Seth Godin, Peak Mac. Truthfully, it was more of a rant (his words). It’s a good one. He’s full of passion and energy around companies becoming complacent because they don’t have someone in their ranks who is “unreasonably committed” to the customer. His rant is aimed at Apple, which is an unlikely target for such a spiel. However, he was on the money.
This week I’m going to encourage you to push. I want you to end this year with passion, covered in sweat, smiling ear-to-ear, having left all you have on the field. I want you to be unreasonably committed to yourself, and, by extension, your organization, for the next few months.
I’m inspired by more than Seth. My former mentor and manager, Jay Gallinatti, passed away suddenly last week. I’ve written about him before and will again, properly. I’ve thought a lot about what he taught and how he lived. I saw a bright, burning connection between his lessons and Seth’s words. Their confluence drives today’s focus to take action. There’s no better time to turn up the heat and make sure we, as managers, deliver the best for our team and organization. Here are some ideas on where you can start:
Check your performance review: Take a look at the things you committed to getting done this year and measure your progress. You have about two months to make something happen. Do it.
And that thing that’s always nagged you on your performance review? You know the one. It could be “doesn’t respond to emails promptly”, or “doesn’t provide agendas for the meeting consistently”, or “some other little nit picky thing that you dismiss but keeps biting you in the ass on your performance review.”
Write it on an index card. Tape it to your wall, lamp or bathroom mirror. Then take the next eight weeks and set about killing that thing. It may only cost you five percentage points on a weighted review, but it is going to feel damn good to get rid of it.
Check your team’s performance reviews: Do for them what I’m doing for you. Make sure they know they have eight weeks to hit targets and work with them to make it happen.
Don’t take the “if it’s important to them they should do it” approach. You’re a better manager than that. If you want to fire them, fire them. Otherwise, coach them to be the asset on the team you know they can be.
Plan your next vacation: I don’t mean for the holidays. I mean next year. Find someplace that’s always tugged at you or that you’ve never thought about before. If you need to learn a language to really get around there, even better. Go online and price out the trip. You don’t have to book it — yet. Find a trip you’d enjoy and price it out. Just knowing where you could go, knowing what it would take to go there and knowing how much you’d need to make it happen will give you energy. It will give you hope. Try it.
I’m going to end with one of my favorite quotes. It’s taped to my wall right now. If you know the source, please share it.
“I usually applaud your inclination to remain above the fray and churn out cool observations. I normally honor your instinct to distance yourself from petty partisan squabbles. But this week’s different. I’d like it very much if you plunged into the pit and unleashed the kind of grunts that come with total, mud-spattered commitment. Set aside your idealistic visions for now, I say, and start a riot on behalf of righteous pragmatism. Witty, evasive action, no. Hard-nosed gut-cheeks, yes. Be the mover and shaker with a thousand nuts and bolts, not the big-talker with a thousand promises.”