Count the “F”s in this sentence.
THE MOST POWERFUL
OF ALL HUMAN FEARS ARE
THE FEAR OF FAILURE
AND THE FEAR
There are a total of eleven (11) F’s in the sentence. Seriously. Count them again if you need to, but they are there. If you only saw six or seven, it’s most likely because you skipped over the word “of.” You’re not alone. Most of us skip over “of” because it’s so common. In fact, it’s the second most common word in the English language. (“The” is the most common.)
What’s most common often gets overlooked. For example, think about your strongest performer(s). When was the last time you told her how much you appreciated all the extra effort she puts in? ..or the level of quality he insists upon? …or the teamwork they seem to naturally exhibit? While these team members probably don’t need (or want) you to praise them daily for their efforts, if you haven’t done so in several months or longer, they may begin to feel that you are taking advantage of their willingness to go the extra mile.
Reread the “F sentence” above, but this time leave out all the “of’s.”
The sentence is a mess, right? Now imagine your team without the consistent, superior-quality efforts turned in by your highest performers. When excellence goes unnoticed, it often evaporates. Team members start to ask themselves, “Why should I work so hard when no one even acknowledges it?” Just because extra effort may be common doesn’t mean we should take it for granted.