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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stuck in a Groove?

One thing that often happens to management as they become more senior is they get stuck. As Seth Godin reports in a recent blog: “If you’ve been doing it forever, you discover (but may not realize) that the things that got you this power are no longer dependable. Reliance on the tried and true can backfire.”

We’re not talking about a lapse in memory or judgment, or a mental hiccup, due to “senior moments”. This is the reality of business life today – the skills and capabilities needed yesterday may no longer work today and the required competencies will likely continue to evolve and change over time. The old “we’ve always done it this way” spells disaster for operating in today’s ever-changing business environment. Consider the struggles that Blockbuster faces by not adapting to changing customer demands.

The best leaders make lifelong learning more than a slogan. It involves the continual pursuit of growth and knowledge that takes place throughout one’s lifetime. You can adopt this attitude for yourself and you can also foster it with your employees. Reassign people to new roles within the company or partner them with different people, or give them assignments outside of their regular scope of responsibilities. All of this will help to fuel innovation and develop new experiences and perspectives, which aid overall development – avoiding ruts.

Encourage these types of learning behaviors through regular discussions with employees. Help them to consider new ideas and new ways of doing things. And model this behavior yourself.

As the business environment changes, so too does it change how leaders need to lead. This may drive a need to create new leadership models in your organization. The goal is to align the business strategy with the leadership talent and succession needs.

Reflect, do you need to break out of a rut and keep your organization from becoming stuck?

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