lighthouse_storm.gifWhen I was building my organization, I had a lot of young people working for me who had tremendous potential but were not yet seasoned.

Occasionally, some would come to me with a tale of woe, such as

  • how tough the market is, or
  • how difficult the project is, or
  • how rough things are going

…and would I please

  • amend their financial plan, or
  • allow them to renege on their goals, or
  • somehow make things easier for them by lowering the bar.

While I am always happy to be a sounding board, and my full resources of advice and counsel are always there in my role as mentor, I have never been comfortable lowering the performance expectation bar.

Our mortgage holders have a decided preference for cash over tales of woe, our vendors are more interested in timely payment than in stories about how tough the market, and our customers expect us to deliver the quality housing we promise no matter how rough things are.

One day I found this quote from legendary football coach Lou Holtz: “Don’t tell me how rocky the sea is, just bring the darn ship in.”

I like the logic of it. Once you have embarked on a journey, you really have no choice but to complete it. You’ve got to bring your ship into harbor. Drowning is the only other option and not a very popular one.

Ranting and railing about weather or any other factor you can’t control is a waste of energy. Just deal with it and get on getting on.

I bought a paperweight embossed with “Don’t tell me how rocky the sea is, just bring the darn ship in.” When anyone started to go beyond seeking advice and began asking me to move the goal posts closer together or give them 5 downs, I’d start playing with the paperweight. People got the idea pretty fast.

Most of them turned out to be better sailors than they ever thought they could be, once they realized there was no other option.