Do The Cheap Stuff

Beware the Dark Side

Let’s start with a story.

When I was an elite athlete, I used to wear my watch facing “in”.

It was a practical choice. When running, I didn’t have to shrug each time I checked my watch.

I figured the “not shrugging” would improve my run form enough to get a few free seconds in a marathon. This attention to detail was not misplaced, I finished 2nd by ~100 seconds one year => perhaps I should have invested in tire sealant as well.

The story of my relationship with my watch tells you something about me. I’m a bit of a nut with the small stuff.

Watching the choices of others tells me something about human nature.

2020 gives us an insight into how individuals, groups, organizations and countries approach performance when the stakes are high. It made me miss New Zealand. Good people down there!

By the way, you can get a clear idea about a leader’s filter (links to my blog) if you look at their actions under duress.

Whatever your filter, whatever your personal incentives…

When leadership matters then BE SEEN doing the cheap stuff.

Athletics: HRV, waking up early, naps, don’t let your ego compromise tomorrow

COVID: masks, social distancing, don’t mix families, take a year off Sturgis, postpone vacation travel

Family: avoid pornstars when your third wife is pregnant

Civics: vote, pay your taxes, respect your neighbors’ right to disagree with you

Always: move daily, less sugar, more veggies, wash your hands

The simple stuff is beyond most of our capacity to execute over time.

It takes effort to figure out, then execute on the basics.

I want to show you something => it’s the outcome, so far, when we test positive in Boulder County.

Demographic breakdown HERE and Source Site HERE

What’s different about Boulder?

This has nothing to do with healthcare => hardly anyone is in the hospital.

What seems different to me is:

  • Baseline population health
  • Imperfect mitigation measures (see our college age positives, we ain’t perfect but we’re trying)

Here in the US, we’re seven months into this thing. Pretty clear we’re not going to convince everyone to “do the cheap stuff.” However, we don’t need to.

Over the next seven months, you can make a material difference in your own life, your family’s outcome and your business’ bottom line if you lead by being seen doing the cheap stuff.

Just do it and if anyone asks…

Well, it’s such a cheap action, I just can’t not-do it.

Everybody likes a bargain!

As your leader, I’m asking you to do the cheap stuff.

Completely takes the wind out of the argument that we can’t afford to be smart.

In every population, there’s going to be a minority who have no interest in doing the cheap stuff, who define what’s reasonable based on the worst choices of others.

By the way, I make poor choices all the time and seek to learn from them. My setbacks are an opportunity to learn, and improve.

Remember what you see. We do not have to put our worst decision makers in charge, work for their companies, or make them our friends.

Having been an elite athlete, what I see with COVID is a reminder of why it was best for me to leave competitive sport.

There’s a sizable minority who “play different”, who have a different filter.

There’s so many people who think differently from me… I have significant doubts that my way is best.

Where I have clarity is knowing my time is well spent creating a wonderful legacy with my children.

Do the cheap stuff.

Each patch is a mountain I climbed with my son. Not all this year (!) but we had a great COVID-modified hiking season. We went big after Labor Day.