Hi, I’m Ben.

Defying gravity — On the practice of excellence

As humans we tend to take the easy route. The one that’s known, most predictable and least scary. It might as well be a force of nature. In organizations, this force gets multiplied. The bigger the team, the bigger the force that keeps you from moving forward towards greatness. It becomes a sort of gravity that holds you in place.

The most important thing to realize is that this is absolutely natural. It happens to everyone. However, it’s how we react to it that makes all the difference.

Let’s take the gravity analogy a bit further. It takes deliberate action in order to jump off the ground. There’s no jump without effort. And the physical effort of the jump is preceded by mental effort. Your mind needs to tell your body to get ready for the jump and define a direction before it sets muscles into action to burn calories and jump.

In teams and organizations, fear and comfort are the equivalent of gravity. It takes deliberate effort, education, exercise and faith to cultivate a process that enables excellent and innovative work. If your goal is to continuously produce excellent work, then you have to master this uncomfortable process with your organization.

As a creative leader, you must create such an environment and challenge your team to defy gravity every day, week and year. If you stick to the known, predictable, obvious, pragmatic, easy path, you won’t be able to find new routes that lead you to undiscovered places. No big leap and nothing great will come from such an approach.

Even when you’ve become aware of this dynamic, from time to time you and your team will “forget” and find yourselves stuck again. It’s OK, and even expected because it is a natural effect. As a creative leader, it’s your job to get the team back on track. As with most things, this gets easier over time with increasing practice and experience.