A few days after Boot Camp we were all asking ourselves, “Why doesn’t work feel like Boot Camp every day?” The rush of energy, the uncomfortable and exhilarating feeling of personal growth, the constant flow of hard realizations about oneself, ones’ team members, and ones’ team, the way everything is new again. We missed it.
A few weeks after Boot Camp, I’m now asking myself, “What will happen to me if work continues to be like Boot Camp every day from now on…?” I’m at my growth edge. So are my team mates. The pace of work, decisions, and revelations are almost too fast, and only increasing. I’m not sure if I can keep learning such hard things about myself and my team mates. Conflict arises.
But learning these things and facing the conflict has made me and my team mates much more effective. We’re delivering results. We trust each other.
Why does so much creative destruction happen after Boot Camp? I think one reason is because Boot Camp makes you much less willing to tolerate pain and mediocrity. It sounds banal, but that has profound implications. Like drinking from the spring of the Hippocrene, it changes you. Since I’ve tasted what it’s like being on a truly great team, I can’t go back.
After that, the path narrows. Along the road to greatness, I don’t want to take the offramps: meetings where people don’t make decisions, situations where people conceal or distort information, being with people who regularly don’t keep commitments.
Life comes into vivid focus. I’ve started to see that my life is full of what Jim McCarthy calls “resolution avoidance” – keeping conflict at a low simmer, and not directly addressing it because I’m afraid of what might happen. I am often afraid of facing or naming conflict. But tolerating mediocrity means I insist on it, that I will be surrounded by it.
Booted teams don’t tolerate mediocrity. Being great means facing problems and resolving them.