Are you repairing your roof when the sun is shining or when the water leaks into your house because of heavy rain?
Blockbuster video never ‘repaired its roof’ when the sun was shining. It was already far too late when Netflix showed up and started to disrupt Blockbuster’s business model.
We’re all human beings, and humans build and lead organizations.
Human beings, logically, find it hard to create their pain.
We don’t like to nearly kill ourselves in the gym, but we do want the result of being fit or strong.
Pain is part of growth.
No pain. No gain.
Occasionally you must lean into discomfort, growth, or pain to grow.
That’s the same for organizations and the leadership of organizations.
When you smell complacency or arrogance, or worse, both, you
should realize that this is your wake-up call.
In some cases, a wake-up call may already be too late. The better solution is to build proactive warning systems that help you detect complacency or arrogance before it’s too late.
Great leaders are connected to the organization at all levels.
They know exactly what’s going on.
They can connect with people of all backgrounds and inspire them to talk.
Great leaders know what to look for and can listen at the deepest level, including the ability to ‘hear the unsaid.’
Great leaders spend more time with their people and customers than with their laptops.
They can translate their intuition into action, creating small, continuous changes rather than waiting for a massive transformation or turnaround.
Great leaders also shake the tree when nobody understands why they would do that, creating organizational pain nobody was waiting for.
They do it because they know the company will be better off in the long run.
I spent time with such a leader recently.
He has the ambition and capability to grow in leaps.
And he knows he needs the right talent to help drive this ambition. So he invests in talent development.
He also realizes that his biggest enemies are complacency, bureaucracy, arrogance, and a false sense of comfort.
I’ve seen him challenging his team to be bold and courageous.
I’ve seen him telling his team to think out of the box, increase the size of the box, or change the box altogether if the ambition is at risk.
I’ve seen him engaging with talent telling them they were thinking too small and coloring in between the lines.
And when he felt that some still didn’t hear him, he became direct.
Stating that incremental progress was not going to cut it. It was all about leaping forward.
I witnessed the discomfort of some people in the room.
This is what creating organizational pain is all about.
This was intentionally pushing people out of their comfort zone so that they would learn, they would challenge on their behalf, and in the end, the company will benefit.
I heard some people afterward sharing how they were ‘frustrated’ with themselves because they felt the same way as their leader but didn’t speak up.
And that’s precisely how it should feel when you want to learn, grow, and help your company leap forward.
Your turn: no pain, no gain?
Do more of what makes you happy!
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