Are We There Yet?

I finished a big project recently that required almost a year of preparation, months of rehearsal, but only two days of performance. It was a very long, but incredibly rewarding process.

On Monday evening, as we started into the home stretch of show week, I gathered the cast around me before we began our final rehearsals.

“I have good news and I have bad news. Which do you want to hear first?”

The cast and crew played right into my hand with a resounding, “The bad news.”

“Ok, the bad news is…we’ll have our final performance on Friday.”

A sad sigh spread across the rehearsal hall.

“But remember, there’s good news!”

I let the anticipation build.

“The good news is…we’ll have our final performance on Friday!”

A collective look of confusion took to everyone’s faces. While I may have expected the confusion, inducing confusion is rarely a good trait for a director. I explained.

“We have a lot of work to do this week. A lot of details need to come together for us to be successful. For many of us, there will be a lot of late nights and early mornings. Some of you have responsibilities outside of this rehearsal that still need your full attention in addition to the attention I’ll need from you here. There will be changes, quick fixes, and deviated plans that will call for flexibility, patience, and grace from all of us. We will do things quickly and simply where we can, but we will not avoid complexity when that’s what’s needed. We will work hard. And we will give everything we have, so that on Friday we will know we did all that we could to make this performance great. Because the good news is, we close our show on Friday.”

With that, we went to work.

People will give everything they have when they know there’s an end in place. It’s easy to generously ration resources when we know the replenishment supply will arrive on time.

Giving your people an obvious goal with a clear end makes the giving of their time and talent far easier.

You can do anything for a day.

You can do anything for a week.

Heck, you can do anything for a year!

It’s when the agreed upon end comes and everyone’s been giving their all, only to be asked to go for one more minute, one more push, this is when your team will most assuredly begin to fade fast.

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