A producer at the Canada East Regionals shared this insight with me.
When Jewish prisoners at Nazi internment camps were finally liberated, many were debriefed on the terrible persecution techniques they'd endured. Some of their answers surprised the interviewers.
When trying to break the stoicism of the Jewish adults, the Nazi guards would put them to work: breaking rocks, building houses, stringing fences. Given a task, no matter how onerous, the prisoners would work toward the goal with resolve. Guards commented that the work seemed to strengthen the will of the labourers (we now recognize this as the 'Flow State' that comes from physical work.)
When they dug latrines, they didn't complain. When they dug graves for their own dead - later, for themselves - they set about the job with a surprising sense of purpose. Only when they were forced to dig ditches and immediately fill them in again did they despair.
When everyone on a team is working toward a common goal - be it trying to avoid bankruptcy, building an underdog Affiliate from scratch, or scrambling to learn as much as possible - they work hard. They find fulfillment. They sleep well. They push.
When they're not sure of your goals, challenges, obstacles, and horizon, they drift. We're wired not to find comfort and solace, but to find reward. That means we seek challenge. If your staff isn't being challenged, or can't find a common rally point, they'll seek another.
Do your staff know your intent as the Owner? Do they know your plans for the Box next year, or two years from now? Do they know your story? Do they see you fighting, and know your enemy?
Will they leave, forsaking your warm fire to seek their own dragons and glory?