My favourite TV programme in the last few years, by a long way, is Drive to Survive, Netflix’s behind the scenes look at Formula. It’s the height of creativity and shows what you can do to a documentary series with a big production budget.
If you haven’t seen it, I love it because:
You see the strategy of the racing, the politics of the sport, and the rivalry between and within the teams.
I don’t have the time or attention span to watch a full grand Prix and the episodes are 40 mins long.
The story telling is so, so clever. One episode progresses through a series of races to explain the highs and lows of a driver’s season. The next might revisit some of the same grand prix talking about a team’s fortunes. Even though they revisit events, everything is revealed at the right time, so you’re always left in suspense, wondering what will happen next.
Whilst watching the latest season last week, my wife said to me: I wish we had jobs where the organisation wins something.
Or at least tries
Not winning some bullshit industry award which they’ve paid to enter.
Not “winning” because the share price increases.
Even where I work, in project world, the excitement of the big, all-hands-to-the-pump, deadline-driven product launch, and the elation that follows the go-live, has been replaced the agile delivery model – calm, iterative, de-risked to the point of being dull.
No, she meant something where you need a big hairy audacious goal and some competition to beat.
Somewhere you feel so fired up that you can’t wait to go back in again the next day, and the day after, and you’re so proud of it that you live and breathe it, telling everyone about it. Somewhere you’re inspired.
So where can you win?
Most of us don’t work for a motorsport team. We aren’t competing for promotion to the Premier League or the NBA playoffs. We’ll never get a single released, let alone ranked in the national music charts.
But we can win, it just depends on who you’re playing.
If you’re in sales, you have your colleagues and competitors. One of my old bosses used to say to me ‘Jon, I don’t care about the money, but how much I see on the board and how much I get paid, helps me keep score and know how I’m doing’.
In a performance role (musician, actor etc), you’re more dependent on your team, but still have chance to shine individually
For other roles, e.g. most corporate ones, maybe it’s not so obvious, or you’re conflicted. You’re supposed to be a team player and subsume your own ambition to the greater good, recognising the priority of objectives:
But whatever you do, there’s one competitor you can always go up against, even when there’s noone else around.
On your best day, on your worst day. You’re always there to compete with.
What was your last/best sale?
What was your fastest time?
How quickly did you get your work done? How many good decisions did you make? How many people did you help in pursuit of the organisational objective?
Try thinking like this for a while and see if it adds a little excitement to your day. See what you can win.