Friday, March 5, 2010

"I Want to Move Dirt"

A friend of mine Bobby McGee posed a question to me that I thought I'd respond to and wonder how would you answer this question?

"A boulder is at the top of a mountain and contains a million dollars for your business... get to the bottom of the mountain and the million dollars is yours.... Would you push the boulder or dig out in front of it? Why?"

While the analogy lends to some interpretation, here is my response:
  • Have truly great people on your team. If I picked the five best people from our company of 58, I think we could open a donut shop (and scores of other businesses) and be successful. Great people don't need to be pushed, they roll on their own as they are strategic, self-motivated, and they value team. (Jim Collins... get the right people on the bus) So what helps them roll?

  • Remove the dirt (or barriers) that are in front of your great people. One of the most important roles I have is to remove hurdles that slow our great people. This may be team communication, communication to clients, poor processes or no processes, or misinformation in key measurables. So what other dirt is in our way?
  • Remove the dirt in our own lives. We all have some sort of dysfunction or distraction that can keep us stuck where we are... Fear of failure, fear of change, moral failures, inability to trust others, glass half empty mentality, lack of financial discipline, etc... Working on our own individual "issues" can help dislodge the dirt in our lives. What can happen then?

We put ourselves in a position to roll toward our God-given purpose, a business can have a great chance of success, and in general, life rocks a little more (uh, pardon the pun...)

Dig out in front of the rock I say.... what say you?


Chad Webb said...

Interesting question Mark. I have been swayed of both sides of this type of debate before. I first have to assess what I am working with before I can realistically answer the question. That gets to your first point.

However, if I step back a bit and look at the question I can offer some advice. Often times, we need motivation that we can see. Pushing the boulder seems to be a "instant gratification" that could be seen. It would be like a large force clearing a path that you otherwise couldn't do on your own. While it is perhaps challenging to push the burden away, it could be like ripping a band-aid off. I am guilty far too much for taking the slow, safe approach in facing my burdens. While I am not trying to win the race to the bottom, I do see value in removing obstacles that are visible in order to get to the next obstacle.

Lee Buford said...

Love it...another thought-provoking post, Mark! I agree, clear out the clutter, junk, and barriers to create a pathway to success. This is a great analogy to be used in own lives as well.
Thanks for sharing!

Mark Meyer said...


Good thoughts... sometimes we can give ourselves timelines for change that aren't always necessary or helpful... slower and safer... Thanks for the input! MM