Move the Needle: Sometimes boring is best


Commentary by CJ McClanahan

Easily my favorite passage in recent memory came from Patrick Lencioni’s “The Advantage.”

“Many leaders fail to over communicate because they get bored saying the same thing over and over again. This is understandable. Intelligent people want to be challenged with new messages and new problems to solve, and they get tired of revisiting the same topics. But that doesn’t matter. The point of leadership is not to keep the leader entertained, but to mobilize people around what is important.”

Type A leaders who innovate, create and get crap done all have the same flaw – they get bored easily.

You can see it on their faces. The minute someone begins to talk about an issue that they feel has been addressed they check out. It’s rude, selfish and disrespectful.

Unfortunately, most leaders think that it’s everyone else’s fault for moving too slow and insisting on reviewing mundane day-today tactics.

Ten years ago, I thought just like most leaders. I was convinced that I was a lot smarter than everyone else and got frustrated with topics that didn’t interest me.

Ten years and hundreds of clients later, I now realize that I was very wrong.

The most successful executives I have coached are not the smartest or those that come up with the most ideas. The professionals who build the most profitable companies share one simple trait – they are committed to practicing the fundamentals.

In other words, they are boring.

These leaders have regular weekly meetings where they follow the exact same agenda. They hold annual performance reviews with every employee. They analyze the sales pipeline religiously and never fail to ask the question, “What do you need to do to close more sales?”

When I reinforce this concept to my clients, they often ask, “When does this routine activity cease to be so tedious?”

It doesn’t.

If you are like most professionals and crave a new challenge every 45 minutes, this type of routine behavior will always bore you.

So, how do you stay interested?

Remain focused on your goals and carefully measure your progress. As soon as you gain some momentum and realize success you’ll find it a whole lot easier to repeat the behavior that got you there.

As with most things in life, the solution is simple. All you need to do is execute.