3 Laws of Vitality: Defeat Energy Vampires Before they Defeat You

Energy vampires* cheer when:

  1. Urgencies distract from priorities.
  2. Meetings suck the life out of people.
  3. Tough conversations get rescheduled or avoided.
  4. Elephants – taboo topics – crowd conference rooms.
  5. Outdated systems and processes become holy ground that everyone endures, but no one can touch.

3 Laws of vitality:

#1. The law of the rudder: individuals, teams, and organizations move in the direction of their conversations.

Today’s conversation reflect tomorrow’s destinations.

Vocabulary – the words you repeat and the topics you rehearse – establish direction.

  1. Problems aren’t the problem. Getting sucked into problems is what drains vitality.
  2. Talk about opportunities more than problems. Leadership’s fascination with problems creates dark environments.
  3. Talk more about what you can do and less about what you can’t do.

#2. The law of the oar: vitality needs a “with”.

Vitality goes up when teams rows together.

Grab an oar and row. Eyes brighten when you jump in someone’s boat and row with them.

The surprising leadership question is, “How might you jump in someone’s boat?” Row with others before asking them to row with you.

#3. The law of the rope: vitality goes up when teams pull in the same direction.

Individuals lose footing and teams lose cohesion when one member pulls sideways.

  1. One team member with a personal agenda drains team vitality.
  2. Small distractions have disproportionate negative impact. Say no to good ideas and pour energy into core competencies.
  3. Too many new ideas insult the people working on established systems and processes.

What would have happened if the most decorated Olympic athlete, Michael Phelps, had said, “I’m great at swimming, but I suck at weightlifting. Maybe I should get better at weightlifting?”

Sideways energy is a “good idea” that distracts from current success. 

What increases organizational vitality? What drains it?

*Energy Vampire comes from the work of Jon Gordon in, “The Energy Bus,” and, “The Power of Positive Leadership.”