“Persistence is to the character of [a person] as carbon is to steel”
Take a cup of water with ice and apply constant heat input. If you pay attention, you’ll notice something very interesting.
Even though you continue to add energy, as long as ice remains in the cup, water temperature (your measurable outcome) changes very little.
Once the ice is gone however, temperatures march rapidly upward.
Watch this video and you’ll see what I mean:
In the video, from time 00:32 to 01:38 (66 seconds), you’ll see that temperature rises only 0.1 degree Celsius.
Once there’s no more ice though (at time ~ 01:45), water temperature climbs quickly- 7.3 degrees over the next 90 seconds (53 times faster).
The BIG Idea
This little experiment reveals a natural truth about changing ‘state’: lots of energy can be required before an observable outcome is achieved.
Science and engineering geeks (me being one of them) appreciate knowing that the phenomenon demonstrated in the water-ice-temperature experiment is called the latent heat of fusion.
How does this relate to people, influence, and performance improvement?
When you put energy into promoting behavior change, especially when seeking to transform the ‘state’ of performance of a dynamic team of people, similar phenomena most always occur.
Yes- human beings are indeed subject to natural laws.
When you seek to influence a person (or persons) to THINK, FEEL, and DO different, there will often be a ‘latency’ in measurable results. It can easily seem like your efforts are in vain, like you’re getting no ROE (Return on Energy).
This is the reason so many give up (or give in to the lure of the next ‘shiny object’).
Rest assured though, so long as you’re doing things right, you don’t give up, and you keep moving forward, you’ll get to the point when ‘temperatures’ (your measurable results) begin to quickly rise.
At PPI, we call this point Viral Accountability®.
When you hang in there, when you remain positive, when you persist, you’ll achieve it. You’ll begin to look brilliant and feel great. This is where the ‘magic’ happens.
The thing is though, it isn’t ‘magic’ at all. This is simply where those natural laws begin bowing to your favor.
Once you achieve Viral Accountability®, your frustration quickly fades into obscurity. You’ll enjoy improving outcomes that appear spontaneous. You’ll begin to marvel at how simple it is to maintain upward momentum.
Until next time my friend, be well and stay safe.