It’s Easier To Obtain Than Maintain

Here’s a thought to kick off the week: is it easier to obtain than maintain?

For example: I find it easier to start and lead something, than managing it once it has been bult. Like Minds is always growing (check out our latest addition) – so I’m not so much maintaining it as I am obtaining new ground every month.

This is a hack I use. I know that I have energy and motivation to obtain, so I always focus on growing the things that I’m leading – or setting targets to obtain.

Faye, however, is far better at maintaining – so in many ways we compliment each other. Of course, we also can both step into obtain or maintain at any point if it is really required of us. This balance has been so useful for everything we do as a team.

Your Leading Thoughts

My question is – to you guys who participate and engage here – which are you? Can you obtain and maintain, or just one? What tricks do you use?

Photo: Like Minds Summit at Villa Kataya

:-)

Archived Comments

  • http://twitter.com/98rosjon Jonny Rose

    In my limited experience, it does seem to me that people relish the OBTAIN-ing period.
    Whether it be the challenge involved, the call-to-action, the excitement of a new terrain…everything is unrealised possibility and this fuels our actions to obtain, grow and conquer.

    However, once we obtain the trophy, those new clients etc the trophy loses its lustre. There is no longer the mountain to surmount or nor the goals to realise. It’s already in your possession just have to try not to lose it. You go from conqueror to caretaker and it is nowhere near as stimulating.

    As such it’s hard to maintain the same enthusiasm as when you were first building things. This is a mistake because: MAINTAINING is every bit as much a challenge as obtaining. Without wanting to induce a sense of panic; when you build that house it could fall at anytime – it needs constant upkeep. Those customers and hard-fought for accounts could leave for a better offer at anytime etc

    Furthermore just because one may have made the transition from obtaining to maintaining, ultimately you are always in a mode of obtaining. Maintaining actually implies you are finished when actually you are only actually sweeping, cleaning and refining the people in your house so that you can receive MORE guests*.

    *Apologies for unnecessarily poetic metaphor so early on a Monday morning

    ;)

  • / Scott Gould

    J Rose,

    I like that: “You go from conqueror to caretaker and it is nowhere near as stimulating.” Of course, what you’re saying is looking at caretaking like there is something to conquer.

    Thats similar to my own hack.

    I like it

    :-)

  • http://radsmarts.com Robin Dickinson

    GENESIS PHASE – SURPRISE and DELIGHT

    I like to start projects and initiate new things. It’s a real buzz.

    There’s the wonderful energy that comes from the surprise and delight of others being attracted to this incredible genesis phase.

    But for me, this can be a trap. The real power in what I do comes from maintaining what works. These things are typically simple, profitable and boring. Yes, boring.

    REVELATION PHASE – BORING is BEAUTIFUL

    However, this maintenance phase is a phase of transformation – transforming ideas into sustainable profits; good intentions into reliability; team energy into team loyalty.

    It’s also a period of revelation – the key one being that boring isn’t bad but beautiful! Maintaining effort; maintaining standards; maintaining values; maintaining key deliverables; maintaining growth and profits – all provide the beautiful stream of cash and time to play around some more and start new things! Yet another marvelous and productive cycle.

    Best, Robin

    :)

  • http://widget.xssl.net/~admin228/graphic-design/ teedp

    I like to start projects (like you Robin) so I build a team around me to maintain !!
    Aimee is great at keeping our office running smoothly!

    At home Lea is great “finisher-completer!” if she starts it she will finish it!

    I build teams around my strengths – ie to cover my weaknesses so I can make my strengths even better!

  • http://twitter.com/LaKotipelto Johanna Kotipelto

    Nice, stimulating thinking (and what a view, Scott!).

    I share a lot what Jonny depicted: maintaing is nowhere near as stimulating as reaching new horizons.

    Often the leader is #1 to obtain but has to ensure the maintenance, too. It can happen that the whole team gets carried away and all of a sudden everybody’s obtaining, no one maintaining. What then needs the innovative leader do? He brings elements of obtaining into the “boredom of just purely maintaining”: what news can we bring on to our “customers already won” – and everybody gets their fair share of novelty.

  • / Scott Gould

    Hey Robin

    Excellent insights.

    You’re right – the real power does come from maintaining what works and having a daily routine that keeps things growing.

    Maintaining is to be praised and must be learnt!

    There is a mindset change here that you are pointing too – but what practical skills and tips have you learnt to keep things maintained?

    Scott

  • / Scott Gould

    What I’m learning Nate is that no matter who we are – we have to become a finisher.

    Sure, we might be the pioneer, but we need to finish the pioneering stage. Leaving projects at 70/80/90% is a terrible habit of mine, born out of laziness and over exaggeration than anything else.

    Yes, there is a degree towards innovation and understanding that you are always adapting, but that should never mean that something is left unworkable because it is half done. Yes – it is not the end product – but it should always work.

  • / Scott Gould

    So you’re suggesting that we need a mindset change about the way we view things.

    I like setting targets to ‘finish’ things. I know that people like myself who like to obtain like to hit targets. I think it helps.

    What tips do you have that could help?

    Scott

  • http://twitter.com/_deface_ Phil Rees

    Hi Scott,
    Not commented here for a while, but felt compelled over this subject. Something as a graphic artist with a very long standing client base that I constantly have to overcome.

    Sounds to me like you’re describing any worthwhile relationship. Whether it’s with work, clients or life partner. Everyone goes through an initial ‘honeymoon’ period where everything encountered is new and exciting. The drive to feel inspired and motivated towards any end goal is clearly at it’s peak.

    As familiarity and repetitiveness slowly creep into any relationship, it would be all to easy for key motivating factors to quietly ebb away. Therefore, you must choose wisely during the acquiring process. Look for key factors that you know can and will constantly feed your inspiration and imagination. Should something you need to maintain begin to feel in the slightest bit tiresome, look back and draw on those elements within a project or client relationship that lead you to make the connection in the first place. Constantly seek for those tiniest of details, those often overlooked attributes to help find that angle that taps back into your inspiration and imagination.

  • / Scott Gould

    Phil,

    Great to have some insights from you again!

    I like the relationship analogy, and you are completely correct, relationships have the honeymoon, and then they have the reality!

    What you seem to be describing here is about having a “why”. If I have a good reason “Why” I am maintaining, that should motivate me, yes? And then when I feel I loose sight of things, I remind myself of that “why”.

    Could you boil it down to this?

    Scott

  • http://radsmarts.com Robin Dickinson

    “what practical skills and tips have you learnt to keep things maintained?”

    Quick list, in no particular order:

    * Have a long-term plan (3-5 year horizon);
    * Know what really pays the bills and stick to it;
    * Have a life outside of work;
    * Pace yourself;
    * Know when and what to automate and delegate;
    * Max-min key processes: design for maximum result for minimum effort;
    * Measure and track key business indicators;
    * Take full control of and responsibility for the numbers – the finances;
    * Understand WHY you are doing what you do – have a solid rationale;
    * Understand how to achieve and stay diamond focused on what really works.

    Scott, it’s a huge topic, but there’s a few pointers.

    Best, Robin

    :)

  • http://twitter.com/KingfisherCoach Ian Pettigrew

    Scott,

    I recognise the challenges! My own hacks to overcome this are:

    (1) using David Allen’s GTD methodology for managing my time so that I’m reminded about the things I need to make progress on (especially the ones that I’d prefer not to think about).

    (2) using Brian Tracy’s ‘Eat that Frog’ approach in that I start the day by doing the things on my list that I really don’t want to do (and that I know would be the ones that would just get carried forward from day to day).

    (3) recognising that I’m not good at everything and, whilst I need to be effective, leveraging the strengths of others involved so that we all do what we’re good at.

    Best wishes, Ian

  • http://twitter.com/_deface_ Phil Rees

    Hey Scott…
    Love the way you’ve summed that up. Yes definitely… it’s the ‘why’, but it’s also about being aware of as many of the reasons for that ‘why’ in the first place. If a relationship, work or task doesn’t press enough of your motivating buttons and is purely about financial gain or other none inspiring reasons, then it’s destined fail. Time is precious, so use it wisely.

    However, don’t stop looking for more reasons ‘why’… as relationships grow, they will change and you must adapt.

  • http://twitter.com/LaKotipelto Johanna Kotipelto

    Scott,

    Yes, I suppose I am suggesting a change in mindset.. And thanks for the reminder: finishing, hitting the target is essential. (And now that I read it from you, it got me thinking of all the things started but yet unfinished =) ..hmm..I need to do some serious talking to myself, first!)

    So yes, those who are eager to move on but somewhat reluctant to stay around long enough to take the project to its end might benefit from a sub-project-thinking. Targets do help, as you pointed out; splitting the “boring rest of the way” into smaller targets help in building relentlessness.

    Say, you’ve designed a web site, campaign site. You come up with all the novelties, visual lay out, a blog here, FB and Twitter connects there etc. And then to the hard work: there is, say, 12 pages of plain text you just need to collect and type in. Boring, eh?

    Okay, instead of 12 grey dull “pages” full of text, Obtainer in you comes up with an idea: here there are three main categories we might highlight further, so you just need to design 3 x 4 pages – and can live with that. Touch down!

    Hope this clarifies a bit more what I had in mind. What do you think? What else is there to help “the fast and furious”?

  • / Scott Gould

    Glad I’ve got it then!

    Thanks for your insights on this- it’s much apprecaited

    :-)

  • / Scott Gould

    GTD and Eat the Frog – Agreed!

    Those certainly help to “shape the path” (If you’ve read Switch, you know what I mean)

    The final trick is motivation on a daily basis. How can I motivate myself to do this? For me, I have to see everyday as obtaining, in order to effectively maintain.

    Scott

  • / Scott Gould

    Hey Johanna –

    Thanks for adding more to the discussion!

    1. Finishing – yes, it’s a hard discipline! Whenever I wash the dishes my wife always says to me – make sure you FINISH it!

    2. I like what you’re saying about breaking things into smaller goals. Part of this is the GTD method of “whats the next step?”, rather than trying to get to the finish line immediately.

    Have you read Getting Things Done?

  • http://twitter.com/LaKotipelto Johanna Kotipelto

    Hi Scott,

    I’m afraid I have not, yet. Must look into it. I guess GTD is abbreviation from Getting Things Done? Written by David Allen, is it? – Amazon, here we come..

    I was wondering, Scott, if I read you right, you too tend to be a starter rather than the finisher. What kind of tips do you use for help? Btw, I love the way you’ve described you and your wife as one, as a team, complementing one another. I am lucky to have a marriage just like that, too <3

    Nice talking to you!

  • / Scott Gould

    Yes, GTD is “Getting Things Done”. I will be posting on it soon

    :-)

    I am very much a pioneer – pressing into new ground. I have a lot of strength and energy for it. I also love creating routines and systems. But then managing the ground that I’ve taken is a skill I am learning!

    Glad to hear you and your partner also compliment each other too

    :-)

    Let me know how you get on with GTD!

  • http://twitter.com/LaKotipelto Johanna Kotipelto

    Thanks, Scott, I will!
    All the best to you, Johanna.

  • / Scott Gould

    Robin – these are such good tips. I’ll make a post out of this!!!

    Scott

  • http://twitter.com/KingfisherCoach Ian Pettigrew

    Scott,

    good question about motivation on a daily basis and I like the Switch metaphor of shaping the path.

    I recognise that there are some things that I need to do that I’m not motivated to do and you’ve made me think about how I tackle this; Firstly, I do try to get them out the way in the mornings but I tend to sandwich them between other work that I do want to do. I also have to remind myself about why I’m doing them. Finally, my concentration span really drops for these kind of things: I can work for hours on something that I’m really into, but only about 30 minutes on our Church newsletter or my business accounts so I just go with that and do it in 30 minute chunks.

    Maybe one approach it to look at areas where we do manage to get everything done and see what approaches work for us and how we can apply it the the other areas. For example, I’m managing to achieve everything I’m setting out to do….. apart from getting to the gym, but I’ve not tried the same approaches as I use to sorting my accounts etc.

    Personally, I think these things are harder when you work for yourself; When I worked for a large company, a lot of my time went on things that I wasn’t hugely motivated to do. I’m now in a position where I absolutely love what I do which means that I have a lot less ‘boring’ (for me) things to do, but they stand out more to me as they’re not the norm but I recognise that these things earn me the right to keep doing what I love.

    Best wishes, Ian

  • / Scott Gould

    Ian

    I agree – it is harder when you work for yourself, or when you are the one responsible. The boring things certainly stand out more!

    I guess I’m learning that if something is boring but bankable, it’s no longer boring, it’s bankable!

    I agree on your ‘eat the frog’ mindset – dealing with the essentials. I’m still learning this!

    Scott

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