the importance of hustle and why it matters

Anyone who has played a team sport, say soccer, knows the difference between speed and hustle.

Speed is distance over time.  Hustle is mind over matter.  Speed is how quickly you can run. Hustle is how quickly you get to the ball when ...

a) it's sitting in front of your goal and the goalie is gone
b) you're tired but you need that burst of energy to stop a run-away forward on the other team
c) when you decide you won't let the other guy/gal get to the ball before you.

In other words, hustle is what you to do win.  It's the difference between waiting for a pass to get to you and going out to meet the ball. It's Wayne Gretzky skating to where the puck will be.

In business, it is following up with a customer, or staying late one night because it is the last push to production.  Hustle is writing that thank-you note to the cleaning staff even though you want to go home or dropping a pizza off to the operations team working late tonight.    You don't hustle continuously - you'd burn out.  It's running the reactor at 110%. You hustle when it makes a difference, when you can take the initiative from the competition.   Hustle is ownership of the outcome.

Hustle is getting the facts to answer a question while you're still on the phone, thus saving everyone a bunch of time and frustration.  Hustle is also when you do something now, rather than writing it on a list.  In the Getting Things Done (GTD) method, David Allen mentions a simple rule - if it takes less than two minutes to do, just do it now and don't bother writing it down.  This is simple and it works.

I already mentioned taking the initiative but if you think about business as war, taking the initiative has got to be one of the most obvious ways to win.

How do you stiffle hustle? Over-planning, micro-management, and bureaucracy.

I think you can guess what single characteristic I value in people and teams.


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