Editor's Blog

Pushing the Rock

August 29, 2010
It’s easy to get fired up and take control of your company. Well, it is for a day!

It’s easy to get fired up and take control of your company.  

Well, it is for a day!  

The harder thing is taking control of your company for the long run. A short burst of focus and energy is rarely maintained because it’s tough to keep investing the type of energy and drive it takes to keep the business momentum going in the right direction.  

Running a company is a lot like trying to push a rock up a hill. There may be some places that are flat to rest but it’s only a resting place for so long. More times than not there is no time or place to rest and when you stop advancing the rock forward it comes sliding back as fast if not faster than you pushed it up the hill.  

Can it get exhausting? Yes!

What other choice is there?

First of all, get more people to help you push the rock because the work is easier with many people helping.  

Then, look ahead so you see where you’re going. Find the easiest path up the hill and start proactively removing the obstacles in your way that make pushing the rock up the hill harder than it has to be.  

Here are just 5 big obstacles you might run into:
    1. Allowing staff members to actually push the rock down the hill and against your best efforts because they would seek to sabotage the good efforts of those who are trying to help. Why do they do it? Sometimes, they feel it’s job security and sometimes it’s just their makeup. It doesn’t matter much because they either must get onboard or go. They may not make it obvious that they’re out to defeat your effort but it’s rare the team doesn’t know who is working against them. Go out and ride along or do a side by side and it will become clearer as to who is helping and who is hurting the efforts. You must accept that like a rock on a hill corporate progress rarely is stagnant. It’s either moving forward or sliding backwards.  

    2. Special treatment for a chosen few takes the heart out of the team who is pushing hard. Nepotism, favoritism and more are the enemies of a cohesive effort. And it takes a tough fair-minded leader to navigate around these impediments to progress.  

    3. Not empowering and/or trusting your staff to help. You think you are the only one who knows how to push the rock the right way and they know you don’t trust them. This is sad because unless you learn how to build a team, build trust and get buy-in, your progress is doomed.  

    4. No clear incentive to those who are willing to move the rock forward. Without rewards like bonuses, compensation gains, a chance for promotion and more…they won’t see how their hard work pays off for them and not just you. Your efforts will be undermined and whatever success you experience is likely to be short lived.  

    5. A loss of focus because there are too many paths to choose from. Eventually, paralysis sets in and nothing changes for the better. Or, each day there is a new crisis to focus on because lack of advanced planning and execution of business fundamentals makes picking the easier path to the top tough to nearly impossible.

There is no “game over” in business. Business is a series of adjustments. The longer you’re in business the more you should have experienced the ups and downs and sideways. A true leader finds and builds the right team, gives them powerful incentives to win and helps select the easier path to success for all.


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