Who’s in Your Boat?

Light the Rope On-Fire

Who’s in Your Boat?

You often hear the phrase “get everyone on board”. If you think of your business, or even your personal relationships, as a proverbial boat, where you need people to row to keep the boat moving and making forward progress. As with any boat, you’ll naturally have rowers, those who carry their weight, put in maximum effort and work well with the other rowers to propel the boat. Next, are your passengers – simply put, they’re along for the ride. They may provide some moral or emotional support, but they’re not actively participating in the hard work of moving the boat. And, finally, you have what I call the anchors. These are people who aren’t in the boat at all, but they heavily influence how productive or how fast your boat is able to move. Your anchors are at the bottom of the ocean, dragging you down. For every forward thrust your rowers make, your anchors may be setting you back 3 or 4 thrusts. All of your effort is going to counteract them working against you, so you are either slowly moving forward or steadily moving backward.

If you have anchors in your business or anchor-like relationships in your life, then it is time to “light the rope on fire”. You have to get these people out of the picture so that you can truly achieve the level of progress that matches your effort.

Don’t be fooled by the passengers either. They may not destroy your productivity as much as the anchors but they also aren’t contributing to moving the boat forward. They’re along for the ride and reaping the benefits of your hard work.

In some cases, passengers want to do more, they just don’t know how. Providing them with the tools, resources, time, whatever they may need to perform – and see if they step up to the challenge and start rowing your boat forward. Other times, passengers, even with what they need to succeed, just pretend to do the work. They are going through the motions of rowing, but are really not contributing enough to justify keeping them. Or, on the other hand, a passenger can work against your progress and become a rower that is dragging the oar instead of using it to help the group achieve a goal.

The key is to examine your relationships and your team dynamics and determine who are your rowers – the people who have what it takes and are willing to put in the effort; your passengers – those who may need more support to do more, or may not want to participate at all; and your anchors – the people who are actively dragging you down every step of the way.

If your passengers and your anchors can’t step up and show up, then it is time to throw them overboard and make room for someone in your life that can and wants to get the job done.

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