Tuesday, November 15, 2016

leadership dot #1628: singles or home runs

Yesterday we hit "send" for a $1.8 million grant application. I was the one to coordinate the process and write the narrative, but it really did take a village to get it completed. I worked with one person for the content, another for the data, yet another for budget information, outside partners and finally senior leadership for approval and support. The grant was on a topic about which I knew little, but I know how to read and follow directions and with Federal grants that is enough direction.

A tremendous amount of time went into this project, not only from me, but from others throughout the organization. And now we wait -- for months -- and then hear that it is all or nothing. They either are awarded the grant, or they aren't; there is no honorable mention.

It reminds me of the elections, where candidates pour their heart and soul (and savings) into a competition and then they are either voted in or they aren't. Close doesn't get you anything.

I imagine it is like this in many other endeavors. You win the game or you lose. You close the merger or it falls through. You seal the deal or walk away.

On a limited basis, this all or nothing mentality is palatable for me, but I would not want it to define the majority of my work. I am more comfortable when my work leads to progress, rather than a dichotomy. I can savor creating small changes that eventually lead to employee or organizational growth, and I am even content with never knowing the impact my work created. 

Take a moment to consider your work temperament. Have you aligned your projects or profession to be congruent with it? In other words, do you gain motivation from hitting singles or are you happiest swinging for home runs? 

-- beth triplett

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