Being and Innovator Isn’t All Mountaintops

We often look at some of the innovative companies from the outside, and we think that working there must be a rush. We think about employees who can’t wait to get to work on Monday, and who have to be pried away from there computers after dark that night.

What we don’t see is project management, requirement gathering, product definition, code reviews, commits, bug fixes, and release management. Much of the work that we don’t see are disciplines. Being innovative isn’t a sprint towards the finish line with the developer throwing something over the wall to sell a million units. Being innovative is the ability to execute and deliver something that people will truly use.

When you are climbing a mountain, you plan, have guides, buy the right equipment and train. The work that you do before you get to the mountaintop is what will take you up the mountain. The mountaintop is a moment that everyone sees. It is the impressive result that we will all reference. It is the climb up the mountain that counts. You don’t get to parachute into the top fo the mountain: you have to climb it.

The employees who show up on fire on Monday and continue to work at all hours: they aren’t there only for the mountaintop. They are enjoying the climb. They have something to climb towards, but they know that it is today’s climb that matters. What part of your climb can you enjoy today?

What mountaintop are you climbing towards today? Be encouraged that you don’t have to stand on the mountaintop today. Standing at basecamp, or being part of the climb, is the work that has to be done.