Man in a small officeWhen I worked for an owner of a rather large manufacturing company. He put a lot of pressure on everyone to produce. Produce products. Produce sales. Produce financials. People always felt “under the gun” to get their job done.

They didn’t have enough time to get everything done.

They didn’t have enough resources to get everything done.

They never did get everything done.

I always had several lists of things to do – To Do Lists. The first list was things I gotta get done. The second list was usually things that were nice to get done. The third list was things I knew I would never get done but I kept them on the list anyway, just in case.

The “gotta get done” list was usually so overwhelming no one ever had time to get to the “nice to get done” list. The “nice to get done” list just gathered dust.

The sales goals were stratospheric. Everyone ran around with a “deer in the headlights” look of fear. Fear that they couldn’t get everything done. Fear that, if they didn’t get everything done, they would lose their job.

Fear is a tremendous motivator.

If you can’t get everything done, what is the next best thing?

You make it appear that you have everything done (and you are extremely busy at it). It took me several years to realize that the owner of this large company really had no way of knowing if the thousand employees he had working for him were productive.

The next best thing was to feel like everyone had more work than they could possibly handle. The indication of this was a “deer in the headlights” look.

If everyone is running around like a chicken with its head cut off (a gory metaphor), he may not know what they are doing, but he does know they are doing something.

Of course, no one ever felt successful for more than a moment, but they were busy.

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