We don’t recognize that times and technology have changed or that we’ve been holding the organization back
It wasn’t the several times I almost died on the job. It wasn’t when I fell off roofs or rolled heavy equipment. But I can remember the day and time I knew I had to get out of construction.
It was -35C and I was demolishing a gas station for my employer. As I went to remove a toilet from the bathroom, water came gushing out of the tank and filled my boot. For the rest of the day, I had frozen toes and a frosty foot.
I went home that night intent on getting a job where I didn’t have to work in the elements year around. I signed up for a marketing class at the local college and the rest, as they say, is history.
Knowing when to look at your options and diversify your opportunities can be critical to your business and to your health.
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It’s well documented that stress can lead to disease, especially immune disorders. Often we become frozen by inaction – we can’t decide how to move our business forward or overcome obstacles. We end up with so much stress that we get sick.
Understanding we need to make a change can be critical to determining how our lives will be lived and if our businesses will survive.
As a business coach, I often run into business leaders at their wit’s end. Perhaps they’re affected by a number of company near-death experiences. They may e have cash flow challenges, competition issues or employees leaving. They’re seemingly always on the brink of disaster and the stress is like trying to fit a square block into a round hole.
In recent articles I’ve talked about the need to be persistent. But there are times when we must make significant changes for the sake of our health and the success of our organization. As leaders, we need to recognize when our organizations have outgrown us and our skills. It may be time to pass ownership or leadership to younger and more energized staff, who are ready to step forward with the skills and knowledge to lead the company to the next level.
Knowing when it’s time for change can be difficult for leaders. We’re tied to the egotistical notion that we’re the reason for the survival of our business. We don’t recognize that times and technology have changed, we’ve been holding the organization back or that we’re just exhausted by our years of leadership.
Aging leaders regularly hold tight to the reins of change because we’re unsure what to do.
In order to feel comfortable in change, we need to have a number of viable options. Unfortunately, leaders, business teams and companies tend to think the best option is to continue doing what we’ve always done. So we stagnate as organizations and people.
In order to adapt to changing environments and transform our organizations to meet the future needs of our stakeholders, we need to make fundamental changes in our thoughts and processes. Many times this requires enlightenment through self-reflection and strategic thinking, as well as contributions from emerging leaders.
Developing emerging leaders is critical to fulfilling the purpose of our organizations. Unfortunately, most companies leave that to chance – there’s little investment in the next generation of leadership.
We wrongly assume we’ll be able to turn the company over successfully to our kids, next-level managers or outside brains the day we turn off the lights in our office and hand over the keys.
If we want to be successful in moving on or taking our business to a level where we can reduce our efforts and spend more time thinking strategically or on a beach, we need a plan for the development of upcoming leaders.
The question leaders should ask is: What am I doing to develop the next generation of leadership within the organization?
Regrettably for most leaders, the answer is frozen silence.
Dave Fuller, MBA, is an award-winning business coach and a partner with Pivotleader Inc.
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