I was reading an article about the Green Bay Packers in the NY Times sports page a couple of weeks ago, before the NFC Championship game.
I noticed a quote by the Packers GM Ted Thompson that really made me think – “If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse“.
Hardly an endorsement for the status quo. What’s wrong with the status quo?
For a leader, everything.
Standing still against any competition is no different than going backwards.
Inertia is the worst thing that can happen to a business. In pure physics terms, inertia is “the tendency of a body to resist acceleration“. In leadership terms, the “body” is the people you lead.
The leader is the outside force that provides the acceleration – the energy that propels the business forward.
We must always be thinking of ways to get better, every day. The bar needs to be raised constantly. And we have to preach it (but always take the time to acknowledge interim successes).
Inertia is our enemy, lurking around every corner. Energy is our friend, helping us to push our way ahead. Good leaders are energy conduits, inoculating their teammates from falling prey to complacency and injecting excitement and a desire to constantly improve.
I know leaders aren’t usually referred to as “energy conduits“, but seen from the lens of basic physics (there’s that Einstein influence again), I believe it makes perfect sense.
In other words, when it comes to leadership – “we snooze, they lose“.