Let’s start with Cops.
What is the most important thing that Cops do? What, in fact, do Cops mostly do? Forget about picking up donuts and flirting with waitresses.
The most important function that a Cop performs is being … PRESENT. The mere presence of a police officer will modify people’s behavior.
Same for the Boss … same for Dad.
Being present is big … it may not seem like it is, but it is.
How GOOD do you have to be to deliver Being Present?
In my opinion it’s primarily (1.) wear a costume and (2.) be present. This is why even an inept, over-weight, out-of-shape, over-the-hill Cop can still provide the power of presence.
And truth is … most Cops, CEO’s and Dad’s over-value what they think they DO.
CEO’s often place the importance of their role and impact on the firm at 80%.
Really? The performance of the firm will likely have more to do with economic circumstances than the CEO’s powerful persona. A Super CEO and a so-so CEO may, in fact, have about the same amount of impact … most of the time.
Most of the time … but not all the time.
When do we need a Good Cop, an Effective CEO and a Great Dad?
In the case of the Cop, his skills, training and execution will matter when something bad happens.
Nobody is that wild about dealing with a cop … till you need one. A good Cop can defuse a bad situation … a bad Cop will make it worse (and might be featured on a video on CNN). And again the corollary between Cop, CEO & Dad applies.
There will be moments when being top-notch matters.
When What You DO is truly vital.
For a CEO it might be a crisis or in making a key decision.
For a Dad it will be when the normal flow of family life is disrupted… and Dad needs to intervene.
So what’s the take-away? Most of what Cops, CEOs and Dads do is “BE PRESENT”. Being Present is 90% of their responsibility in most situations. The 10% (or less) moments of crisis are where the exceptional are separated from the average. But guess what … most of the time “average” is perfectly acceptable. In a well-run company or family or situation there isn’t a big need to intervene or be overly involved.
It’s like flying an airplane … slight modifications to just keep the plane on course are the primary function … the only time you really need to be a good pilot is when you’re in a storm or when you land.
Knowing you could be replaced 90% of the time with a DOPPELGÄNGER is either delightful news … or depressing, depending on your perspective.
This isn’t a big secret … Management by Walking Around … has a long and rich tradition and Cops know that a boring night is a good night. So if you are Cop, or a CEO or a Dad … at least BE PRESENT … it could make the difference.
And that is my thinking this night on the importance and non-importance of Cops, CEOs and Dads.
* Dad role & Mom role … in the broad context (yes, there are exceptions) seem to be different in that Moms are usually carrying the heavier day-in day-out load. A father who is simply present some of the time can be a powerful, positive modifier for most children. Just interacting with the kids, supporting the Mom and being present for some part of the day seems to be enough to make a difference … but go ahead and do the dishes, it won’t hurt.