Drain the Swamp!


“When one is up to his a– in alligators, it is easy to forget that his original objective was to drain the swamp.”
-William Moore

I hail from a tribe of creative, restless, responsible souls who prefer DOING as much as possible, because we can, because we like the challenge, and sometimes, because we (mistakenly) think it is more economical. This applies to baking birthday cakes, building new garages, or making holiday gifts…as well as hiring employees or delegating work: the “doer” side seeks satisfaction, which at times can be a detriment from an efficiency, cost and, most importantly, a leadership standpoint.

I was talking with a colleague last night who leads an office on the west coast and shares a similar bent. He has been struggling with finding talented help, and the increased workload has put a strain on him and his team. This was affecting their productivity and clarity of purpose.

I asked, “There has got to be a way that you can find some good help for your firm. Where have you been looking, and how can you expand that search? Who else can help with this?” He then said: “well, I haven’t been working with a headhunter, because it’s seems like such a hassle, and I’m not sure I’ll get the candidates I need.”

“That may be, but it in this case, your greatest need is to find talent, and right now, you don’t have the adequate bandwidth to recruit on your own. You need to drain the swamp. Focus on what will make the most positive impact for the office and the firm. Consider this is an investment, money well spent.

It was one of those “aha” moments. He decided to make the call that very moment and we hung up. Leadership is evaluating the need and resources available, and then making the call.

Those of us from this tribe that will bake the cake, change the oil, or personally hire new talent should use the resources available so we can do the jobs we are meant to do.   Just because we can doesn’t mean we should. Stay clear. Drain the swamp.


Side note: I first heard this from one of my bosses and it caught my attention.  Also of note: There are many versions of this quote/proverb; this was my favorite. For more, see: http://www.redstate.com/diary/barrypopik/2010/07/29/origin-and-history-of-drain-the-swamp-mother-jones-reagan-rumsfeld-pelosi/


  •  Quote Source: William Moore, 1971 from Blind Man on a Freeway
  • Image credit: khou.com

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