While cleaning up my files, I ran across my “rules for survival.” These have been evolving since I turned 20. Yes, that’s a long time ago. Here is one “rule” written in pencil on the tattered list…
“When things are at their absolute worst, that’s when the least amount of extra effort will pay the largest dividends.”
When things are good, it is easy to work long and hard. It may even be fun. But, everyone else is working hard too, so your efforts as compared to your competition will not have as big an effect. Mathematically, when you put in 110 units of work when everyone is putting in 100, you are only 10% ahead.
It is when the situation is so bad that nobody wants to do anything, that any extra effort can swing the tide. When things look terribly bleak, or it is too cold to move, or everyone is too exhausted to do anything, that is exactly the time when your effort will be leveraged many times bringing you out ahead of your competition. If your competitors are sulking around feeling hopeless and only putting in 5 units of work waiting for better times to return, and you put in only 10 units of work, you will be 100% ahead of your competition.
Who doesn’t want to be 100% ahead of the competition in the business arena?
The trick of leadership is to show that the deepest, darkest, bleakest moment may yield the greatest reward with some extra effort.