The #1 source of momentum and motivation for humankind. The thing to celebrate.
We are mass + velocity: momentum. We need to constantly be building, collaborating, publishing and creating. When people are cynical or calcified, it is usually because they’re not creating any more. The faster we get people to start creating again, the better they feel toward their sense of contribution. A sense of contribution is a requirement, particularly for top performers. We don’t like downtime. We’re not sure what to do with ourselves. Downtime makes us feel lost, adrift. We’d much rather be 100% engaged in our work, building, creating and moving with our ambitions and high aims. We’re ready now. We’re building our story now. We’re working with other A players because that’s who we prefer to work with. We are momentum.
To not be working on something, to not be contributing to something greater than ourselves feels confusing. We’re left wondering, but not in a good way. We’re wondering isn’t there more we should be doing here? We could be doing this, and this and this over here. Yet we’re not. We’re stymied. And we hate feeling stymied, especially by other people, by bosses and decision makers. We’ve got to get out from underneath their thumb to do our most important work, to create our most important creation. We have to contribute It isn’t an option for us. We need a big Mission and purpose we can get behind and rally around. We have to contribute because we care.
The secret ingredient to high performing teams.
Care is underrated. Few leaders talk about care. You show you care through your actions. You show you care through your creativity. You show you care through your dedication to improvement, coaching and training. If you’re a leader, people need to see and feel that you care about them as people, that you’ve got their backs, that you’re there for them. That we’re all in this together, and that we’ll win together. Many leaders miss the mark on care because they think it is soft of they will be perceived as soft. Yet people won’t feel safe or protected on a team unless they know the leader truly cares about them, their success, their contribution and the Team. Care is the secret ingredient to high performing teams. What’s terrible about a leader who doesn’t care is that she will have directs who don’t care, either. They’ll bail mentally. They won’t be in the game with everyone else because they see a leader who doesn’t care. Remember: direct reports reflect the behaviors and attitudes of the boss regularly.
It bares its own paragraph: direct reports reflect the attitudes and behaviors of the boss. As the boss goes, so go I. The tricky part is it is unstated. No one will ever say it aloud, yet our actions nearly match the leaders’. We order what the boss orders. We stay where the boss stays. We say what the boss says. We carry out directives, even if we don’t like them or they don’t make sense or we feel they won’t get us closer to our goals. Bosses and managers have such a massive impact on people within the org that they can even trump culture! That’s a big deal because culture usually trumps everything else, like strategy. If you’ve got a manager who is a micromanager, but you have an open, truly values-based culture built on trust, customer success, diversity and inclusion and openness, the micromanager will win over culture. Unfortunately. As the Gallup folks say, it’s the manager. People don’t quit bad companies. People quit bad bosses. All the culture talk in the world won’t save a direct report from a micromanaging boss. It’s a terrible, pernicious problem for companies. Top performers won’t stand for it. They’re gone! Next!
Top performers need compelling Missions and Purposes to hitch onto, to get excited about, to create the future together because that is exactly how they think of themselves. It’s their M.O. It is why they are here. Yes, the money is important, like oxygen, but there has to be something deeper, something they can inject their meaning into each day through creative contribution. There has to be something they can make their positive change to. There has to be a larger movement they can get behind that is bigger than themselves. They have to feel like their work is making a difference in customers’ lives. They need to see it and feel it and hear it. The sense of contribution is massive for them. Without it, top performers feel underperforming and confused, two emotions they hate to feel at work. You get used to kicking-ass at work, in a good, positive way. It means you’re getting after it. It means you’re disciplined. It means you’re contributing at a high level of performance. It just /feels/ right. It means your contributions are approaching your ambitions, perhaps touching them even, and that feels cool and congruent. This is their daily aim. And we all have to have a daily aim, something to shoot for. And we should celebrate our ambitions!
Have you noticed that very few people talk about their ambitions and dreams? For what it is they really want? Where they really see themselves going? What they truly want to have done in 10 years? Why is that? What are we afraid of? That people will get to know the real you and really what you’re all about? Top performers are guilty of this like anyone else with big dreams. It’s unlikely they dream of working for GE for 40 years. It’s likely something else. They want to build something that lasts. They want to create over and over and over again for an audience. They want to teach, coach and train on what they know.
Celebrate Ambition! Drive. And Fire.
Unfortunately, we are taught to tamp down our ambitions, not to celebrate them. We are taught to be happy with what ya got and stay there. Almost nobody encourages us to celebrate ambition! Nobody! Except for Tony Robbins and Brendan Burchard. Why is that? Especially here in America? A country built upon ambition, drive and fire!? 🔥 I agree with Tony and Brendan: let’s celebrate ambition and drive! Let’s celebrate people wanting bigger contributions. Let’s celebrate Creativity and confidence. Let’s celebrate innovation and problem solving and new ways of doing things. Let’s celebrate building up an industry with care. We celebrate people graduating from college — certainly one form of educational ambition — but we don’t celebrate people wanting more for their careers? Doesn’t make sense. Ambition is what builds this country and makes it better. Ambition builds industries. Ambition builds companies. And ambition builds people. Ambition is so important that it’s tragic it doesn’t get more of our praise and joy. Let’s celebrate it for what it is: one of the greatest internal sources of momentum for humankind.