This past week I sent the email below (verbatim) to my leadership team, not as a critique, but as a challenge. I really find my own personal motivation goes in cycles and I have to fight through this issue from time to time. The title of the email was the same as this post, “Avoiding Complacency”.
Guys, I wanted to share a simple technique I use every week to ensure I’m staying motivated and focused on the right stuff. To be clear, this is not a critique on our/your work ethic, commitment or anything else other than my normal “challenging” the team to stay awesome. I recognize everyone is working hard.
Candidly, one of the issues I personally have to wrestle with is avoiding complacency, becoming “comfortable” in my role and most important, losing a sense of urgency and paranoia that I believe is critical for any startup to succeed – the leadership team simply has to feel an almost overwhelming sense of urgency and belief that if we don’t get better fast, someone else is going to kill us.
One of the things I do every Sunday night before the week begins is to answer the question, in writing “In addition to all the crap already on my calendar this week, what am I personally going to do, this week, to move the needle for the company?”
We should all take this view and we should push our teams to take this view. On a weekly basis, its not sufficient for us to “move our existing, albeit important, workstreams closer to completion”. We each must actually accomplish something, each week, that is foundational to our success, that we can all see as a big step forward, that those looking in (investors, press, customers) would say – yeah, that’s big.
Now, is this realistically going to happen each week? No, but it HAS to be a goal, a focus that each of us holds each other accountable to. I want us to ask each other this question and I welcome you saying “Rob, what did you do this week to move the needle?”