Tag Archives: expectations

There is a Price

It is a story making the rounds in the sporting and baseball world – Colby Lewis, a pitcher for the Texas Rangers, took paternity leave for the birth of his second child.  In so doing, he missed a start.  As part of the players contract with MLB, paternity leave is allowed, and by all accounts it was something he and team management had planned for in advance.  Overall, not really a big deal to those involved.  However, to others it was a huge deal.

As we hear so often, “I can do the job without…moving/traveling as much/taking away from the family” or a variety of similar thoughts…all of which have merit.  Typically the person is absolutely correct. They can “do” the job.  However, there is a massive difference between “doing” and “doing well”.   In our world, “doing” is not enough. “Good enough” is not even enough.  It applies at all levels, but is magnified the more senior the role.

This is not just a business phenomena either.  Think for a moment about academics.  The days of an “A/B student” earning admittance to the state’s flag-ship university or a top tier private school are well in our collective past.  The same applies to youth sports.  Just playing school sports, and heaven forbid 3 different sports – never.  Dedicated club and travel teams, skills coaches and camps, high-end gear and diets.  The expectations and results oriented bar have moved up in all aspects of our world.  And that level of achievement requires real sacrifice.

Who am I to say what is or what is not an appropriate level of sacrifice.  But I will say that it is naive to assume there is not a level of expectation when it comes to what one is willing to give.  And rest assured, that level of expectation moves up as the reward, scope of responsibility, and level of accountability increases.  There is a reason companies pay big money for big roles, big producers, and big time leaders – those roles demand a great deal.  The reward reflects the level of sacrifice.

The more compensation the company is giving, the more effort they will demand.  Maybe you sincerely believe you can “do the job” without really giving what it takes, but eventually that bill will come due.  Companies are not looking for “good enough”, they are looking for “great” – always.  National Directors, General Managers, VP’s, CEO’s and even professional athletes – reaching that level required great sacrifice.  Staying at that level AND excelling will require even more.

The title, the corner office, the big pay check, the slot in the starting rotation.  Eventually we all need to really look at what we want relative to what we will give.  It is one of the toughest equations to solve, but it is one we all have to address.

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Filed under Business, Coaching, Sports

When the Process Becomes Too Hard

As with all things Hollywood, pirates and the high seas just drips of glamor and adventure.  It is the stuff of epic tales of daring do immortalized by the likes of Errol Flynn and Johnny Depp.  Certainly there is an element of crime and punishment, of death and destruction, of cruelty and pain, but that stuff sort of gets lost in the Hollywood hype.  The modern pirates of Somalia remind us of what desperate people do in desperate times – it is neither glamorous nor dashing.  It is crime and death in its starkest form.  It is also becoming a lesson in what can happen when the process becomes too hard, even for “the good guys”.

Ever so quietly over the last two weeks a story has gradually been told of a hijacked Russian cargo ship and the fate that befell the captured pirates.  In short, the Russian Navy was able to retake the ship, free the crew, and capture ten of the pirates.  It was a fairly cut and dry scenario – the Somalis took the ship and the Russians took it back – the pirates surrendering following a brief fight on the cargo ship.  However, it is what happened afterwards that was rather interesting.  It seems the Russians elected to set the pirates “free”.  Free, adrift in a boat at sea.  It is an age-old punishment for pirates and mutineers being set adrift, and apparently something that has comeback into vogue when dealing with modern pirates by more than just the Russian Navy.

Was it the right thing to do – not my call.  Was it the correct or proper process for dealing with captured pirates – apparently not.  However, is there a reason it has become more common – clearly so.  Right or wrong, the “process” when it comes to dealing with captured pirates has become too hard .  The system is broken.  Those out dealing with the day-to-day realities have been forced to make decisions.  Harsh decisions that are none the less real solutions to real problems.  Simple, effective, and permanent.

As leaders it is imperative that we ensure the process never becomes too hard, or is perceived to be too hard, or is just simply broken.  Calling a process fair, right or “just the way we do things” does not mean the process is working.  Efficient and functional processes are the key points for leaders.  Best intentions are not a viable justification for dysfunction.  Putting people in a position where they must make decisions that are based on unrealistic expectations, or asking them to work within a system that is dysfunctional benefits no one.  It is not only unfair, it is a recipe for poor morale.  Eventually events and circumstance will force people to take matters into their own hands.   Ultimately it will become an environment in which no one wins.

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Filed under Coaching, Current affairs, leadership, NMS