With the organisation I worked for before I had the opportunity to experience first hand the moment when pushing became running. For years we worked as a small and determined team pushing against the ever-present idea that we could be closed down from one day to the next. We were hungry and fought hard for contracts. Little breakthoughs celebrated with champagne now seem very little but the hard work and thrill of the hunt made for jubilation and the hunger to continue to grow made us want to work even more.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when but at a particular point we didn’t need to push anymore. People were coming to us, the phones were ringing like crazy, and we found ourselves with new problems of hiring, organisation, and how to structure in all of the new clients and staff. We realised the question of closing us down had become moot, we were now running like the wind, and the question became – what do we do now?
The director did at least half of the things on this list because he found the running to be the consecration of ten years of work and he didn’t particularly want to find anything new to push against. This is the not to do list from Tom Peters:
Extract “lessons learned” or “best practices.”
Thicken the Book of Rules.
Become evermore serious.
Enforce the rules to increasingly tight tolerances.
Go on defense.
Protect-at-all-costs today’s franchise.
Install taller walls.
Write more rules.
Become irrelevant and-or die.
What we should have been doing is this:
Go on offense.
Give everybody a shot.
Try a bunch of stuff.
Make it up as you go along.
Get some stuff wrong.
Laugh a lot.
Get some stuff right.
Become a “success.”
So the end of this story is what? I associate with the other major kingpin in the company and we leave. We see the future of where we were, we saw the wall coming at us, and we created a new company. This blog is going to be attached to our new website soon and we are throwing ourselves into the fray. We are pushing again like crazy and we don’t count on stopping. It’s scary and wonderful and we won’t die not knowing. And as uncertain as every venture may be – this is life, my friends, so hang on for the ride.
Thanks to Seth for the push.