Fatigue, Change, Moving On
October 11, 2011
Plutarch said, "Fate leads him who follows it and drags him who resists." The changes in your life are not always the ones that you hoped for, but they can usually lead to reinvention. In this time and place, when you come to the fork in the road, step on the accelerator! The state of balance is askew; we seem to be coming to a discontinuity of history: government, geopolitics and in our profession. Perhaps no one is to blame. Those who know what should be done lack the power to do it. Those who have the power lack the knowledge or will. It's the ebb and flow of empires; Middle East in transition, global economy on the brink, Citadel fading into history.
But lying just on the other side of adversity stands opportunity. Adversity causes some people to break, others to break records. If you lead people in times like these, you have a rare opportunity, since these are the moments in the unbroken thread of time to make a major difference. Before you jump to conclusions about how to accomplish your opus magnum, consider a quote little known and seldom attributed to its source. Almost no one remembers that Vince Lombardi once acquiesced, "Fatigue makes cowards out of us all." He meant individuals and organizations. Just as athletes and high leaders suffer fatigue, so too do businesses and institutions. Many managers don't understand how competitive fatigue can drag us down and minimize our efforts. But you can sharpen your observations as a leader and spot the fatigue in your company or business plan.
- Does the business plan feel like a prison? "If we can't compete on price, quality or innovation, where can we be competitive?"
- Do our opponents seem out of focus -- sometimes seeming larger than life?
- Is there a decline in our team effort (though not yet in results)?
- Do team members disagree on who and where competitive threats lie?
- Is leadership spending more time on petty personnel conflicts than on upholding key principles?
We beat fatigue by continually reexamining our plan and our goal array. We beat it by never-ending assessment of our competition. We beat fatigue by adjusting our tactics within our strategy, fitting it to the personal growth and change of the people we lead. Most of all, we beat it by understanding we can't beat a competitor all by ourselves and that mental stamina and relentless drive are and have always been a team endeavor. There are few roles in history for the do-or-die gladiator who, when hanging up his sword, has left a company in disarray and uncertainty.
Joe Lewis said it perfectly: "Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die." NBA coaching legend Pat Riley diagrams it: "Ride the cycle of team change, balance your role players and your stars, break through self-imposed barriers, and create change-within-continuity."