Past success and achievement often breeds comfort. It's also in our human nature to seek comfort even before improvement. It’s this comfort that causes people and leaders to stop improving and protect their success in good times when they get comfortable or reach their desired level of success.
In tough times, like we're now experiencing, it will make people and leaders dig in even deeper to survive and wait until things get back to normal instead of taking the actions to improve and create a new normal. While this make slow the decline or fall, it certainly de-motivates and demoralizes people and organization. This mind set will enable the final decline and move them or their organization backwards at a time when energy and enthusiasm for the challenges, change and new innovative thinking are desperately needed.
Over the years I have met many people and business executives who seemed to be comfortable with the status quo. These same people and leaders often agree it is time for change, time to improve, but go back to what is familiar and wait for change to overtake them or their organization. After years of observing this mind set and behavior I am left with only one conclusion. This happens because they have achieved a personal goal and become a too comfortable with their position or life. This causes them to look to protect their position or possessions instead of using all the attitudes, skills and actions that help them achieve or grow in the first place.
When things get tough and leadership and changes are needed, their comfort level motivates them to wait until things get better rather than look for alternatives to make things better. I have never believed these same people or executives achieved their personal goals with this mentality. Rather, they only stopped moving forward, being innovative thinkers and advocates for change and personal growth after they achieved a personal goal and reached a comfort level.
When bright, aggressive people and leaders, who were able to lead their organization to great achievements, start using language like "hunker down" and "wait", it is most often a sign of comfort or fear and it’s happening too regularly.
When the time comes that people or leaders would rather be comfortable than grow or lead the movement for improvement in their life or organization, it is time for the leader to step down and find a new challenge to get reenergized. This is true in our personal lives as well...complacency or comfort are our greatest enemies to a happy successful life. Leaders stepping down or finding a new challenge rarely happens in a timely or productive manner and usually occurs after much of the success achieved has been lost.
As a leader...Do you have a plan for stepping down or creating new challenges? In your personal life,...Are you aware when you get too comfortable? Good habits lead to good results but when a habit becomes a rut that drains you of your energy beware. Look for the new challenge to reenergize the achiever in you.
How will you know when it's time? One major indicator is when the changes required to keep moving you or your organization forward aren’t energizing but a chore! When our attitudes as leaders are right then change is always energizing.
Most leaders have the heart of a great competitor. Great competitors usually lose the will to prepare before they lose the desire to perform. When this happens performance suffers.
Often in business, leaders get comfortable with their past achievements or the position they hold and it creates an unwillingness to embrace the changes needed for their organization to move forward to new accomplishments.
Too often achievers or leaders are like the performing artist that can’t let go of past accomplishment or the thrill of the performance and try to perform after their performance deteriorates. Except people's performance in life don't have to deteriorate if they stay committed to learning, growing and change.
For people, leaders and their organizations, it is best to get reenergized by becoming change advocates. It is never best to wait for things to get better… Be careful that your life and leadership strategy isn’t to hunker down, wait or survive until things improve.
Don't hide behind the idea of going, back to basics, I've always done it this way, or it's worked this way before. Be ready to make changes, learn, grow and keep making changes to learn again. Remember it's what you learn after you know it all that matters the most and makes the biggest difference.
We are all experiencing a new economy and a new way of life. If you want a happy successful present and bright future then wake up everyday looking for what's possible, what's new.
It's time for people in general, and leaders specifically, to get back to their first loves…challenge, change, innovation and improvement. This is the best solution in good times, tough times and the best way to re-energize yourself or your organization.