“If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.” – Frank A. Clark
There’s a fine line to walk between being satisfied with what you have and being satisfied with what you have. And that isn’t a typo. It’s a fact of life and a part of helping people make change for a living.
Leaders who are never satisfied lead organizations that are always improving. They’re always looking to be innovative, they’re always looking at new ways to serve customers, they’re always looking to figure out a better way to attract and keep the best people. Those are the leaders I like to be around, and the ones I’d like to emulate.
But there’s a balance. Too many leaders who are never satisfied aren’t very happy people. Nothing is ever good enough for them. No one ever performs well enough to meet their standard. No amount of growth or profit or accomplishment is ever worth celebrating because it should have been better.
On the other end of the spectrum are leaders for whom good enough is more than good enough. There’s no reason to do much more, because this is good enough. We’re efficient enough, we serve our customers well enough, we’re growing enough. Working with those kinds of leaders can be very frustrating, because everything is good enough that there’s never a good reason to change.
The point is, you can’t be satisfied to the point that everything is good enough. No organization that is truly great ever thinks that. By the same token, you have to take time to celebrate accomplishments. Your drive to constantly improve can’t overwhelm the need for you (and your people) to recognize when you’ve done things well, and to be happy about your current situation.
Be excited about what you have. Enjoy it. Celebrate it. And create a vision in your head of how it could be better yet. Then enjoy the process of getting there. Like what you have and be hungry for more. It’s not an easy tightrope to walk, but it’s an important part of being a great leader. Be that leader today.