Creative LeadershipCreativity

You Might Be Failing Because You’re Over-Reaching

When it comes to work and our career, we all want something better. Better equipment, more resources, a bigger team, and more. But many times when we get the opportunity, we overreach and end up with nothing. Let me give you an example: I consulted with a media organization recently and to really enhance capturing their live events, I suggested they get a camera jib (crane). As soon as I mentioned it, one of their video guys jumped into the conversation and said, “Yes, but what we REALLY need is the deluxe, double helix, satellite fed, triple feed, automatic, radar enhanced model.” (OK – I exaggerated of course, but the model he wanted was SO expensive, and SO over the top it was ridiculous.) But he’d been reading the latest industry magazines, and knew that was what NBC had, so of course, this much smaller organization obviously (to him) needed it as well.

The truth is, all they needed was a simple camera jib and that would have made a huge difference in their programs. But this employee stood his ground. There was no way the organization could afford what he wanted, and they didn’t need it, so they ended up with nothing.

Now that employee grumbles about the organization having no vision and being cheap.

I have a feeling you’ve seen that guy in your organization – and it might even be you. The lesson?  Keep your perspective. Sure you’d love to have the latest and greatest model of everything – but would a less expensive model get you in the door? Wouldn’t it be better to have the resource you need rather than nothing?

When it comes to your personal growth, or your career, reach as high as you want.  But from a practical perspective in dealing with your team, stop just reading industry magazines, and get real.  Your leadership team will be much more open to responding to your needs if your requests reflect realistic budgets, time schedules and resources.

Have you ever worked with the overreaching person who was always pushing to hard and ended up with nothing?

Related Articles


  1. What’s bad is when an overreacher gets what they want (because the boss believes the overreacher’s sales pitch) but the equipment can’t be used to it’s fullest extent because they didn’t tell the boss it would cost another arm & leg to make it operate remote. Or, in other cases, the new hi-tech (and expensive) equipment is taken home by the overreacher and never seen again.

    What I’ve seen is overreachers getting their way while the organization got screwed. Overreachers are not typically working with the best intentions of the organization, though it always seems to appear that way.

  2. Wow Phil, this is a great topic to blog about, but it is also a complicated topic to make practical.

    Yes, I think everyone has come across an “Excessive Earl” at work or in a charitable/not for profit organization. Maybe at times I have even been the “Excessive Earl.”

    On one hand, we all have opinions about what is appropriate and what isn’t. On the other hand many times there are as many opinions as there are stake holders. Worse, we cannot assume the majority will always be correct for no innovation of merit has ever been the result of a poll. We can’t even rely on an expert, because expertise relies solely on what has already been done to theorize on what can, or can’t be done. That is, until someone without the expertise and preconceived prejudice proves them wrong. We can’t even rely on the manufacturer’s to help us determine which gizmo (jib) is appropriate because the person who created the marketing material knows little about your unique needs.

    I was recently trying to help a Pastor of a rapidly growing church who wanted to upgrade his video production facilities to High Definition. He stated he had a total budget of $25,000.00 to buy everything he needed. Cameras, lenses, switchers, monitors, etc. I showed him a budget from another group with similar needs and requirements. The other group spent $225,000.00. His response was, “Whoa. That’s the big leagues. That’s for a TV network.” I explained that it was for an organization very similar to his. And no, a TV network would likely not install a similar system with a budget of $225,000. On a network level a facility with could easily be in the multiple millions of dollars.

    So what we are really addressing is perception. For the Pastor I mentioned, $25,000 was all he had. He desperately wanted to accomplish all his goals for that budget amount. Taking a multi-phased approach probably made the most sense. For another group, with identical goals a start-up budget of $225,000 offered them the quality, life-span and ease of use they required. For a TV network with an increased need for flexibility, fail-safe back-ups and increased quality that number could go up to the millions.

    Which Jib is the right one? I guess it’s the one that will actually get purchased (or rented) and used in a creative manner adding to the value of the production.

    Practically speaking, I would recommend testing and trial. Rent or borrow the “deluxe, double helix, satellite fed, triple feed, automatic, radar enhanced” model. Rent or borrow the lower cost option(s). Make your own evaluation. Which one is “right” may be different for each organization.

    1. All good points Tom. It can be a complex thing, however, I keep finding people who are just too rigid in their thinking. Sometimes flexibility opens the door to something bigger…

  3. This blog argues for the idea of having a terrific leadership team, even if that’s only two or three people. By “terrific” you’d have people who were consistently over the top with ideas, balanced by the consistently conservative leader. A tight team would understand that they all want the same thing: success! but they value each other’s instincts and experience. Together, great decisions (hopefully) get made.

Leave a Reply

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker