Fatigue. It’s the enemy. Complacency. It’s the enemy. In any operation, daily repetition causes fatigue and complacency that introduce risk. The challenge is to fight the fatigue, avoid complacency and continuously improve. But, how is that done?

Most can recognize opportunities for improvement: a new system, simplification, an improved process. We know it. The challenge is to close the gap between what we know and what we do.

The hard work of excellence isn’t for everyone. To achieve excellence one must fight the human factors that cause fatigue and complacency.

There are few people who are known for consistency and excellence like the Navy SEALs. What’s their secret? They know what to do and they do it – even when it requires more than normal people will do. One of their surprising secrets is to take a shower in very cold water the first thing everyday. While most wouldn’t do it, to them it awakens their senses quickly and jolts them forward. It’s one way they get the edge on others.

Now, we’re not suggesting that regular people start their day with cold showers. What we’re saying is that to be excellent, you have to do it on purpose. You need an edge. You have to know what to do and you have to do it. And, just like with the SEALs, it won’t be easy.

We see the signs and symptoms of fatigue and complacency frequently in operations we visit. They are still using old systems and following processes that could be easily improved. They know things could be better. They know that some of the ways “they’ve always done it” aren’t necessarily the best. Yet, for all the wrong reasons there’s resistance to change and improvement.

Find the way to take the cold shower. Do what needs to be done. Fight fatigue and complacency and be excellent. You can do this. Will you?