Put YOUR Stake in the Ground

“Every champion was once a contender that refused to give up.”

Rocky Balboa

Anything worth doing is worth doing completely. Yet, often we hold back commitment waiting for reassurance and commitment from others first. Doing this is understandable but not helpful.

A Committed Company

Recently, I read the book, “Delivering Happiness,” by Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos. He and his leadership team put their stake firmly in the ground for their purpose of “Delivering WOW through service” for vendors, clients and employees. The book not only describes repeatedly how they made their purpose operational in their business, but about the losses, times they almost lost everything, and how financial success was not guaranteed.

The Heroic Journey

I bring this up because in my work helping organizations adopt a responsibility-based culture model (where everyone is taught and supported in managing their own relationships, productivity and motivation), they often run into situations in which they are similarly challenged. It’s reminds me of that scene in the movie, “A Few Good Men” where after months of inspiring Lt. Kaffee (Tom Cruise) to live up to his potential, Lt. Commander Joann Galloway (Demi Moore) says to him, “Danny, if you don’t think you can pull it off, don’t do it. You’ll lose everything.” This is how I often feel with my clients. They are sometimes like people who climb Mount Everest, not sure they should try for the top, because they fear they may literally die. They come to see, while rewards are great, there are no guarantees that purpose and values will win the day financially. Daily, they must consider and choose commitments over and over again.

Real Life Scenario

Recently a company owner realized one of his employees was in what’s called active constructive misbehavior (when someone does something that looks constructive but is actually doing harm to relationships and profits). In this case, his employee consistently over-committed, over-worked, under-utilized his team and under-delivered to clients and co-workers. To a casual observer, it would not appear this burnt-out employee was misbehaving at all, but once recognized, he was handed responsibility to come up with a solution (which he did – to set healthy boundaries) but ultimately refused to put his stake in the ground to fulfill. Therefore he resigned, which was in my opinion, actually good for the company, but a tough consequence all the same.

We Need Committed People

We are all inspired when we see live and mythical heroes face obstacles and win the day and I see that a lot of this along with outstanding results, in my work. But regardless of whether or not you always make it all the way to the top of the mountain, our world is desperately in need of responsible, high integrity leaders. So my suggestion is this: In all things be awake, determine your options, feel them out fully, considering all positive and negative consequences, then make your choices, and put your stake firmly and fully in the ground for each, giving full effort. Then, no matter what happens, you will live a life you love because it is one designed from the most responsible, courageous and loving side of you. And as Goethe says, “When one commits, then Providence moves.” So go out and plant some stakes firmly in the ground. We need your courage and initiative.

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Why People Hire LifeWork Systems

People hire LifeWork Systems because they need and want us to shake up business as usual. We show everyone how and why to get involved and play nice; why they matter. No one gets away with second-rate anymore because we make excuses obsolete. Every day for months, new ways of thinking and acting get hashed out, and faith in humanity is restored until everyone is crazy excited about people and the work, and mediocrity is OVER. Then you see some serious barn-raising going on. It’s an amazing ride!

This article will be published in my column The Extraordinary Workplace in St. Louis Small Business Monthly, July, 2017 

Judy Ryan (judy@LifeworkSystems.com), human systems specialist, is owner of LifeWork Systems. Her mission is “to help people create conditions in which all people love their lives.” She can be reached at 314-239-4727.