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.