Running a great company is a lot like paddling a canoe upstream: when you stop paddling, you don’t just stay right where you are. You are quickly washed back downstream where you were. The best way to keep from losing ground is to constantly paddle hard and fast against the currents of mediocrity.
Remarkable companies never stop improving. They never stop pushing forward. Regardless of what achievement or milestone they just obtained, they never consider themselves “there” or rest on their laurels. Keep the momentum going by constantly raising standards. As you achieve your goals, set new, even higher ones.
Remember that the challenge only means something if it is a tough one. No one would be impressed if the top NFL football team beat a high school junior varsity squad. When you are lining up challenges for your people, look for ones that you are not sure you can attain. The best challenges seem to be just out of reach of our fingertips. You want ones that make you stretch and reach and strive. This stretching is where your staff gains strength and confidence.
As you gain victories, take the time to celebrate them with your people. This is an important step because winning is extremely fun and will motivate your people to work even harder at the next challenge set before them. Winning against tough odds is rewarding even in the most difficult of times. It’s hard to get tired of winning. That is, it’s hard to get tired of winning as long as the challenge was tough! Finding the challenge that will keep people motivated is the key challenge for managers today.
Row, row, row your company to a GREAT future!