September 29, 2006
The Real Story: The Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC
The Peak Experience
from back stage Your Business Blogger was backstage with Sean Hannity of cable FOX fame. He was about to give a speech to a packed house of 1,800. “Delegates” as John Fund from The Wall Street Journal called the attendees. They came from across the country for The Washington Briefing, hosted by the Family Research Council.
Hannity looked great; sounded great. He was up. But he should have been down. No matter — he wanted to talk about how to make the country better. And he was a business case study on The Peak Experience.
In the small talk before his introduction and as he stashed his luggage (yes he carried his own bags) we learned that he had been giving speeches and doing his radio show across the country. He got only two hours sleep the night before.
We were witness to The Peak Experience.
The guy was working non-stop. And he didn’t need the money. But he wanted to give his speech for The Family Research Council, even if the scheduling fates had him sleepless in DC.
Yes, adrenaline kept him up. But it was more than a chemical dependence.
It is a cliche that doctors don’t get sick during epidemics; sailors don’t get sea-sick in a storm; electrical power-line repairmen are at their safest and most efficient when the lights and lines are out.
If there is a real emergency for your company or an extraordinary circumstance, your staff will know and will rise to meet the challenge. Especially if you, manager, have so trained and motivated your team that they know that they are making a difference. Doing important work. Work that’s bigger than themselves.
The Peak Experience works only if real. Epidemics, tempests, blown power grids are difficult to fake. (Although some CEO’s I know would try to trick the staff. It seldom works.)
The crisis, the impending event, the project must be more than a ‘stretch goal.’ Your team won’t work Sundays for still another artificial and moving target.
The Peak Experience is an emergency; an extraordinary misalignment of the stars that doesn’t take a day off, doesn’t worry about overtime. And will have your team working through days at a time.
Alert Readers will recall that Your Business Blogger holds for working only 6 days each week.
Ancient Jewish tradition holds that there are exceptions where work can be done on the day of rest, the Sabbath. If your “ox falls into a ditch,” — your livelihood is on the line or there is a life or death situation — rules can be circumvented.
But The Peak Experience, where the company ox is in a ditch, is the exception to resting.
Remember, The Peak Experience is not normal. But sometimes can be anticipated. When working the Y2K rollover, my team worked the final month — that would be December, 1999, for our younger readers — straight through. And we knew it would be a success.
The Peak Experience is a rush that will enter your company lore and last for years. Get ready. It will happen. If something looks like The Peak Experience, don’t be afraid to work the staff to death.
These unusual events should be perceived and received as 100 year floods. Very rare, low probability, high impact. But if The Experience occurs too often, then Peak begins to look like SOP. Something ordinary.
But not Hannity. Not that morning. Sean gives a soaring speech. And gets a standing O. He knew to work The Peak Experience.
And so will you.
John Fund and
Your Business Blogger
at the FRC Briefing
The Peak Experience
Was this helpful? Do comment.
Consider a free eMail subscription for this site.
Thank you (foot)notes:
Read more on John Fund’s take on the Family Research Council event at the jump.
Colorado MediaMatters has a video clip.
The Cracked Door has Is there a nicer way to present the truth?
Wonkette was working. Good photos. Watch the language.
JOHN FUND ON THE TRAIL
A Mormon from Massachusetts wows social conservatives.
Monday, September 25, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT
Recently, the person most likely to be viewed as the conservative alternative to John McCain would have been Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist or Sen. George Allen of Virginia. …As for Mr. Allen, he was welcomed by delegates, who sympathized with the hazing he’s gotten over his use of the term “macaca” to describe an Indian-American working for his opponent. Almost no one seemed to care about the recent discovery of his Jewish ancestry. But Mr. Allen has clearly suffered from his accident-prone Senate re-election campaign. One noted that he has gone from twice being named the front-runner for the 2008 nomination in National Journal’s semi-annual poll of 100 GOP “insiders” to being a beleaguered incumbent in his home state. Now he’s even facing fire from the right. “I’m disappointed Sen. Allen has chosen to attack [Democratic opponent] Jim Webb for once opposing inappropriate roles for women in the military,” says Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness. “He’s pandering and panicking.”
Full Disclosure: I report to Elaine Donnelly as Vice President for the Center for Military Readiness. Fund continues,
Other social conservatives addressed the FRC summit and received warm greetings. They included Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and former speaker Newt Gingrich. But for now all are viewed as either too little known or carrying too much baggage to win the nomination. That said, Mr. Gingrich was given a rock star’s welcome at the summit’s closing banquet. …[an attendee said] “When he said the U.S. was now in World War III against terrorism, every talk show ran with it.”