I have had the phrase, "They are all moments of truth," stuck in my head this week. Directed at myself, for the most part, I have been using this mantra to improve my focus and action. It started this Sunday at the Flying Pig Marathon. I walked the half-marathon and there were many moments of truth where I had to summons the stronger Lisa, the more persistent Lisa, and the pain-resistant Lisa.
Same thing at work yesterday and today. The impact that my work has is important. I don't want to shoot for "fine," "acceptable," or "good job." Heck, I charge too much to set the results bar so low. I am striving for, "Wow! I had no idea we could get there," or "I have a completely different—and more helpful—view of things."
You are the same, too, right? No one gets into the hard and thankless (or thank-challenged) job of being a manager to do a fine job, an OK job, a perfectly average (oxymoron?) job. To do our best work—extraordinary work—we need to recognize moments of truth and then bring our A-Game. And each situation—each moment of truth—might call for a different extraordinary you.
Moments of truth: Moments that reveals the truth about who we are, what we care about, and how committed we are to results.
Managerial moments of truth: Moments that reveal the truth about who we are, what we care about as managers, and how committed we are to being the catalyst for propelling results and performance forward.
Each day there are moments that—depending on what we do—will alter our lives forever. I think I am more of a sprinter than a marathoner. Patience is tough. The LONG distance endeavor is harder, I think, and calls for more courage, perseverance, and faith in self. In business, many of our projects are akin to the long walk of a half-marathon or marathon. Management—being a craft—is definitely a long term endeavor.
Yet, there are these moments of truth each day. Daily tests to see if we are really interested in doing something amazing at work. Daily tests that we must pass to stay on path. It's a big responsibility and the moments of truth are sometimes unwelcome—we would prefer an easy-breezy day. But then we are reminded that people's lives—their livelihoods—are in our hands and the tests seem appropriate and necessary.
We would not want to let a drunk worker into the nuclear plant control booth or in the air traffic control tower. And we should not allow managers “asleep at the managerial wheel” operate something so fragile and precious as a team.