I recently heard Garry Ridge, CEO of WD40, suggest that no matter what we do, “There is never enough Time, Treasure, Talent or Technology.” In other words, if we wait until we have all the “necessary” components fully in place, we will never get started. As one politician put it, “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you wish you had.”
It’s the same plight in our business community. The competitors and the customers get a vote in the time
frame and requirements for what we do by way of products and services. And internally, there is, and always will be, a limit on the resources we can bring to bear on problem solutions, initiatives, or product development. This situation leads to some of our team members starting with a significant level of frustration before they encounter and real challenges.
As leaders, we have to help our teams to understand that they will “never” be satisfied or comfortable with the level of Time, Treasure, Talent, or Technology. Some or all of these components will be in short supply. Before we can help the team be comfortable, we have to come to grips with our situation ourselves.
What are the emotions we convey to our team members as we discuss project schedules, requirements, and resource needs? Do we throw other leaders under the bus? Do we make excuses about the lack of achievement against the stated goals? Does our body language give away our frustration? I hope not, but it seems to be a common occurrence.
Eat Limitations For Lunch
I hope that instead of complaining and blaming, we help our teams understand that despite there being less than ideal circumstances, those circumstances are ordinary. We may still go to bat with leadership to determine if there is a way to get relief for any deficits. And even if we’re unsuccessful in those endeavors, everyone must work to meet the goals. High functioning teams “eat these limitations for lunch.” They thrive on the challenge of doing much having been given little. More often than not, they make it all work with little to no complaining, and they focus on following through on agreed-upon goals. It is an absolute joy to work on such a team.