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Are you willing to pay the price? (Part two)


Why can't I improve the quality of my lawn overnight? 

Following on from last week and thinking back to my lawn, I can accept that it takes time to improve it but it won’t happen at all if I don’t put some work in.  I’ll have to mow it, roller it, to spike holes in it, water and feed it and probably a load of other things that I haven’t even thought of yet.  The reason it won’t happen straight away and without work (and you know this already, I suspect) is that doing something like cultivating a good lawn simply takes time and effort.  There’s a natural process to be followed: grass simply doesn’t grow in a day; weeds take time to die and disappear; the ground won’t flatten itself just because I tell it to.

If I want a good lawn, I’ll have to be prepared to pay the price – in time and effort.  The same is true if you want truly excellent performance from your team – it won’t just happen.  You’ll have to put some effort in and accept that it will take time to produce results.

Fundamentally, management is all about people.  No manager does things on their own – by definition, there must be people for you to manage!  And, wherever people are involved, what it all boils down to is relationships.  Your relationship with them, their relationship with you.

Many managers overlook this simple fact – there are still a lot of managers who believe that their primary focus should be on the task, all of the time.  They pay no heed to the human side of their job – managing by email or telephone, not saying good morning when they come in, only talking to people to tell them to do something or tell them off when they haven’t done something, remaining cold and remote.

These managers may succeed in the short term but their teams are fundamentally damaged by their lack of interaction and attention to simple human courtesies and expectations.  This damage eventually comes back to them, in the form of distrustful relationships, “working to rule”, lack of support from their team.

All relationships take time to build and to grow.  They grow in tiny, almost imperceptible steps, like stalactites or stalagmites.  They need constant attention, constant nurturing – attention to the tiny details which, in relationships, assume importance beyond all connection with their scale.  Think of a close relationship you have now or had in the past, perhaps with a friend or a partner.  That relationship didn’t appear from nowhere and it didn’t happen just because you wanted it to: it took time and effort but gradually, over time, trust arose between the two of you and the relationship grew and strengthened.

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