Recently a client of mine had a prepared list of questions to ask during our coaching session. He asked, “Dan what is the difference between _________ and the rest of us?” (Fill the blank in with the person or company who dominates your space.)
Honestly, I had a good answer for this friend and client. My initial response was that he keeps the main thing the main thing. He knows what his best and highest use is, but he doesn’t neglect the other essential functions of his business. He empowers other people to make those essential functions their main thing. He lets them “own” a lane and dominate it.
But this question really haunted me for a while. Then the answer came in a flash while driving down the road. It stemmed from a Strategic Retreat I hosted last fall where a group of 17 men had a long engaging conversation about whether or not obsession is a healthy attribute or not.
4 O’s of Greatness
Anyone who has achieved greatness has been obsessed. Bill Gates, M.J., Kobe, Elon, MLK Jr., Warren Buffet, Tony Robbins.
Write the vision, make it plain… so the herald may RUN with it. (Habakkuk 2:2)
Moses went to Pharaoh nine times demanding that Pharaoh let God’s people go.
Andy Andrews was rejected 51 times for the publishing of Traveler’s Gift.
Chris Hodges cashed in his retirement account, quit his job, and moved to another city to see his dream come to pass. That dream is now north of 45,000 members in attendance all across the state of Alabama every Sunday.
Be about what you are going to be about. Get obsessed if the thing you are chasing must come to pass. Others will judge. Others will cast stones. Others will not achieve greatness. Get obsessed my friend. It is not just ok, it is right.
If you are going to be obsessed about something, then you should also be obsessed about who is reporting to whom and who is responsible for what. Get organized!
In my line of work, I see a lot of obsessed people. Different things drive them. Some of them are still proving something to their dad, some are proving something to themselves, some are driven by the love of money, fame, and success. A few are driven by the need to survive (even when their needs are more than met). And a rare few are truly driven by love for God and people.
But, of all the obsessed people I know, very few of them are organized. This lack of structure frustrates the hell out of the people they lead, the people they serve, and mostly, themselves. This lack of organization not only slows them down, it sabotages them in the end.
If you want to have it all, you can’t do it all. Surround yourself with people who care about you and what you care about. Equip them, empower them, endorse them and set them free to lead what you can’t and do not want to lead.
While organization is key, organization without ownership is pointless. Ownership means accountability. Ownership means, I know, 100% that this is my responsibility and I want it. I want to lead this thing. I want to become the expert in this company and this industry about finance, marketing, talent development, process improvement. You name it, the person in charge of the things you can’t or do not want to be in charge of needs to own it to the point of … obsession.
Now, remember, some of these things you do not care about. But this person cares deeply about that thing and she needs you to see that she cares about it. You need to recognize, praise, support, authorize, and fund the thing that she has taken ownership of in your company. Just because you do not want to care about it does not mean that it can be ignored. Find the person who loves it and give it to them. But do not neglect the person who cares for what you do not care about!
Oh, obstacles. They come in market dynamics, policy decisions, global pandemics, you name it, obstacles are inevitable. They come and go and come again.
The 4th “O” of greatness is this: The obstacle that gets in the way of your plan becomes the objective. Do not ignore it. Do not let your people be willfully ignorant. We must confront the brutal facts of what gets in our way and negotiate the obstacle. Go over it, through it, around it, or under it, but do not ignore the obstacle. Acknowledge, address, and proceed with the plan.
Great organizations are not surprised nor derailed by obstacles. They have conditioned themselves to look at obstacles as a necessary part of doing business. Those who embrace the obstacle rather than deny the obstacle overcome it faster. Overcoming hardships makes victory sweeter. Overcoming obstacles gets us ahead of our competition faster. Overcoming obstacles proves to internal and external stakeholders that we are obsessed about mission accomplishment and sends a signal… “get on the bus with us because we WILL arrive at our destination no matter what.”
High performance leaders and high performance teams are Obsessed, Organized, assign Ownership, and overcome Obstacles.