Only dead fish go with the flow…

The title of the post is an excellent example of the stream of nonsense that you get on twitter which you can just imagine being regurgitated in the work place by a leader thinking they’re adding value by wisely using this platitude themselves.

If glib phrases and truisms were the secret to success then the Olympics would have no competition other than to determine who could come up with the most inane motivational quote… which might be quite interesting actually as anyone could have a go and your ability to be skilled in a specific discipline would be irrelevant! These pseudo intellectual statements are about as effective as the absurd cries from the galleries at American golf tournaments on the tee of “Get in the hole” (whether a par 3, 4 or 5!) or “You da man!”. Most golfers will be deliberately ignoring the annoying interjections, rather than suddenly having a revelation about the purpose of the game or their self-worth.

Fortunately, most successful performers don’t rely on this kind of hollow wisdom to underpin their performances. The great performers actually focus on making sure they’re ready to perform, whatever the conditions. So, whether they’re swimming up-stream, down-stream, across-stream, resting or about to plunge down a waterfall, they stay focused on making the most of their talents and using their skills, knowledge and experience to compete in the circumstances that they’re facing.

Great performers don’t second-guess what they’re doing in the worry that they might be dead because they’re going with the flow. They will be using the flow to make sure they get as much advantage as possible and they’ll use the flow better than other people who are simply relying on it. Equally, they won’t tell themselves that in order to be alive they constantly have to defy convention and be innovative. They’ll know that when it’s time to go against the flow, it’s for great purpose and provides opportunity that would not otherwise be there and they’ll dig in and produce great performance when the conditions aren’t helping.

More importantly, they’ll choose whether it’s a with or against flow moment – because both are needed and simply ignoring one would be wilfully underperforming.

Anyway, thank for the inspiration. It seems that platitudes may have some value, even if it’s just to use them as an excuse to produce a blog post!