It wasn’t fun. Alex (my business partner) and I took our annual Clarity Trip™ in the Smoky Mountains, following the Appalachian Trail. We planned to do 76 miles over 6 days. We did it, but it rained for five of those days.
On our longest day of 16 miles, it rained 5 inches. So, slogging along in wet boots with water up to our calves on the trail, we debated stopping after about five miles. However, that would have added four or five miles to each day we had left; we would have had to quit early. We wouldn’t have reached our goal.
I consider myself to be somewhat “old school.” That term carries different connotations, and whether it’s good or bad depends on how you mean it. I’m proud of my old school leanings because it means I respect good traditions, appreciate my heritage, and stick with tried-and-true ideas that have consistently led to success in the past.
But there is another kind of old school thinking that, if you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, can lead to extinction. Sticking to old ideas that have proven not to work well can make you a dinosaur. I’ve seen people lose their businesses that way while their competition flourished.
Here are three old-school leadership ideas that will stifle your business growth, and how to break free of them.
The Elephant in the Room. The Sacred Cow. The skeleton in the closet. Every company has certain issues that they avoid bringing up at all costs. Sometimes the issues are too uncomfortable to confront. Or the same issue has been discussed many times in the past and still nothing is being done about it. Sometimes it’s because we’re afraid that someone will get personally offended just because we brought it up.
The issues that are most often avoided are people-related issues. Someone is underperforming, but because they’ve been with the company forever, their lack of performance becomes the norm or status quo.
Sure, the “pop-pop-fizz-fizz” of Alka-Seltzer can provide temporary relief for an upset stomach, but it can only help so much. Usually the problem stems from eating spicy or greasy food, so if you continue to eat the wrong foods, the stomachache just keeps coming back.