What Can A Trapeze Teach Us About Business Growth?

What can a trapeze teach us about how to grow a business and strengthen a team? It has everything to do with Risk and Trust.

Think about the last 10 people you’ve hired. No matter how well you wrote the job description, perfected the interview questions, and screened the candidates, maximizing the impact that employee will have on your team has more to do with what they do outside of why you hired them than the reasons they were offered a job in the first place.

Consider this:

What if every person who ever joined a new company simply completed the tasks as assigned? 

Before we go down the rabbit hole of the ways this might alleviate frustrations from underperformance, that’s not what we’re talking about today. There’s a whole host of reasons for underperformance, and solutions to combat and solve for those disappointments. We’ll come back to that another time.

Hiring to find someone who will complete a checklist is horrendously short-sighted. I’ve worked with far too many leaders who post a job from an emergent need. Sometimes it’s from unexpected growth (yay!), or from pursuing other expansion ideas or projects. In other cases it’s from backfilling the departure of an established role. Regardless of the reason, where the biggest wins and losses come well down the road, after the on-boarding and training have taken place.

Back to the question at hand…

One of the books I’m reading explains how a trapeze artist is able to develop, hone, and expand their skills for the betterment of the show. 

When the circus invests in and installs a literal safety net beneath the trapeze swings, it gives the artists the confidence and freedom to train and perform the act as originally prescribed – or perhaps just as it has always has been done in previous shows. But the growth and magic happens next.

The net gives the best performers the confidence to push limits. Try new things. Innovate. Take risks. Make the show better. 

Better show = more customers.

As the artist has trust that the net will catch them when they fall, and they will absolutely fall – no matter how talented the artist is – they are empowered to explore and develop a routine or take the performance to new heights. 

As leaders, it is absolutely critical that our investment in our team goes well beyond getting them on the payroll. Create the culture and structure of trust that will catalyze the creativity and desire to outperform beyond the training or past experience.

You’ll find, more often than not, that is where the growth comes from. 

A foundation of trust, that enables risks, will create more out of each performer.

-David