A good friend of mine in the neighborhood texted a comment a few weeks ago that made me chuckle.
While reorganizing his garage, he came upon his long-stored-away pressure washer.
He texted me later in the day, “Dude, I messed up. Don’t pressure wash anything unless you plan on pressure washing EVERYTHING!”
I laughed at our long-running joke...then grimaced knowing I’d likely be doing the same soon.
Once you begin pressure washing your driveway, you notice how bad the sidewalk looks. And when you get the sidewalk brightened, your doorstep looks dingy.
Well, once that is looking brand new, the bricks on your home appear dull.
Of course, before you know it, your 30 minute project takes most of your weekend.
Then, your friend next door realizes what he’ll be doing the next weekend as the bright sidewalk ends right at his property line, and his driveway now looks neglected.
We’ve joked in the past about agreeing to pressure washing and landscaping truces. If we’re all lax, none of us looks especially bad.
It’s not that these are things we wouldn’t eventually get around to doing. It’s just that one person getting out there usually exerts just enough peer pressure to get us off of our couches.
Reflecting on that fact, I am reminded of advice I have long given to new managers.
Many take on their roles and feel a bit anxious about what it will take to motivate their teams.
They tend to worry about being able to give the right pep talks to engage people.
I tell them that their words are important.
However, their actions will make their words resonate or ring hollow.
I suggest that they be the first one in the office… at least sometimes.
Be the last one out…at least sometimes.
Regularly tidy up workspaces and customer areas that are growing cluttered.
Try to be the first person to stand up and welcome customers walking into or up to a branch as often as possible.
Pay compliments openly and often. Be as gracious with customers, employees, peers, and supervisors as possible.
Over time, our teams tend to listen to our words, but mimic our actions.
Some of the more “motivational” leaders out there are not motivating with words.
They motivate by the example they set each day.
How motivational will you be today?
Several buddies and I have been communicating back and forth during one of our favorite sporting events of the year.
No, I’m not talking about the NBA or Stanley Cup playoffs.
We’ve be pontificating, praising, and complaining our way through the NFL draft.
For all of the missteps the league has made in recent years, turning their draft into a roaming, multi-day spectacle was genius. I believe I watched this year’s draft longer than I watched any actual game last year.
I’ve heard folks suggest that the draft is so popular because “hope springs eternal.”
Everyone is undefeated heading into the draft.
Their team is just one or two players from being contenders! There are hidden gems in the late rounds!
Yet, I had to laugh at something my older son brought up. He’s an international soccer nut and repeated something one of his favorite analysts pointed out.
He said, “The NFL is funny. They reward losing by giving the teams with the worst records preferential treatment in the draft. That is not how the world works. You don’t get rewarded for losing.”
That cracked me up. I fully understand why the NFL does what they do, but that statement is true.
In business and life, you do not tend to be rewarded for not being very good at what you do.
That said, one of the things that I have long pointed out to friends is that I have a problem with some of the top picks in the draft who are deemed “busts” within three years in the NFL.
I ask them to consider the teams these top players are joining.
These very talented people often end up on dysfunctional teams with bad cultures and coaches either just arriving or on their way out of the door.
Not to name names… but some teams seem to consistently take great talent and turn them into discouraged, underperformers.
Other teams seem to take middle-of-the-pack players and “coach them up” to performance levels beyond what the experts predicted they would achieve.
My point to managers is that hiring the most qualified and talented people you can is a great start.
However, the coaching people receive (or don’t) and the cohesiveness of the teams they join matter.
Coaching is central in turning rookies into experienced veterans and experienced veterans into top performers.
Are you coaching up your squad?