Hard-on-self, not…

…down-on-self, or high-on-self, or SOFT-on-self.

In practice #114 with a group of real estate appraisers, we studied the worldview of the greatest individuals, teams and leaders — which is hard-on-self AND hard-on-others.

When Toto and I talked a couple days about this as it pertains to Collaborative Effort, we were reminded again why BTL team practice is so important: “Talent is overrated. You know this. According to Angela Duckworth’s research, covered nicely in her first book titled Grit, talent is a starting point – nothing more. Her performance formula is as follows:

Talent X effort = skill.

Skill X effort = accomplishment.

Talent is overrated. Collaboration is underrated. The best individuals learn from teammates and teach ’em too.”

Soft effort leads to low skill and mediocre accomplishment.   Talent x hard effort leads to great skill and high accomplishment.

The average individual, leader and team is high/down/soft-on-self…and hard/down/soft-on-others.

Most high performing leaders and individuals are hard-on-self, but soft and/or down-on-others.

The highest performing leaders and teams are different.   They are hard on self AND hard on others.    This is NOT the politically correct way — this IS the Spartan Way.    It rarely happens in Practice #1;  however, it can be cultivated over time through regular, deliberate, intentional team practice.  It happens as deep trust is built within and with others, and as pride and fear are replaced with humility and courage.   It happens as leaders and teammates give each other the green light to hit & hug, and to speak & listen to truth in love using whatever form of affirming and disconfirming feedback is appropriate.

Our dear brother Larry was hard-on-self AND hard-on-others with a heart bigger than his 6′ 6″ 245 lb. tight end frame.   One of his favorite sayings was “every leader has exactly the team he or she deserve.”   So leaders, take heed:

If you are soft-on-self, your team won’t receive you being hard-on-them because you are a hypocrite.

If you are down on self, your team won’t receive you being hard-on-them because you don’t believe in yourself.

If you are high on self, your team won’t receive you being hard-on-them because you are too full of yourself.

If you are hard on self, your team MAY receive you being hard on them – but, remember the Spartan Way isn’t for the many, it’s for the few.

Want a better team?   Become a better hard-on-self, not down-on-self/high-on-self/soft-on-self leader.    And then invite your team — especially your captains — to practice with you.   And be absolutely sure you’ve selected your captains carefully, remembering the “C” on their uniform must stand for the transforming  hard-on-self culture you want to build into others.

Together we transform.   Always together.




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