You Have to Give Up to Go Up
It is a business truth that organizations are like organisms – they are either growing or dying. (As a personal side note hearing this once from a scientist when I was younger made sense. Now as I get older, I would like to dispute it but alas, I am told it is still the truth.)
For organizations, this can have multiple meanings. It doesn’t mean that you have to double sales every year, but you do need to continue to grow in some way: revenue, the way you operate, employee development, profitability, or the like to survive. Regardless of the type of growth, change always follows since the way you used to do things won’t necessarily work any longer. Another truth with growth is there is always something you as leaders have to give up, or delegate if you want to go up.
We have now established that all organizations have to grow, and with that growth adjust and delegate. In my almost 20 years of working with small and midsized companies, I find that when it comes to dealing with change, there are generally three types of leaders, and each inherently handles change very differently.
The first group are my smooth operators. They seem to intuitively know what they need to give up and what they need to continue to hold on to. With this almost sixth sense, they grow much more smoothly than their counterparts.
For the second group, this doesn’t come as easily. This group is more herky-jerky in their approach. They don’t instinctively get what it is they need to let go of. This is due in some part to being resistant to change and to not understanding the need for it. They are open to it in the grand scheme of things, but there are definitely more growing pains with this group.
My third group are defiant. “Jim what is the big deal if I sit in two seats? I am good at both,” said one troubled leadership team member/owner. “But can you be great in both?” was my question, born from obvious frustrations within the team. He didn’t like that question because he knew the answer. This group is resistant to change and to Delegate to Elevate™. They just don’t want to give up, but they still want to go up. The sad truth is they can’t have both. I haven’t seen it happen. It is heartbreaking because these teams resist letting go of the very things they most often complain that they can’t get done. This is the group that struggles to launch.
Personally, I am energized when I know that I am the problem to an issue since the fix is within me. I wasn’t always this way. As a leader, I was definitely a defiant early on in my career. I moved into hanging out with my herky-jerky friends as I grew. I am not quite snuggling in with the smooth operators yet, but I find I am farther up the continuum. So why am I telling you this? So that you know the fix to this dilemma if you’re struggling with growth and change. It’s you. Figure out which group you fall into as a leader and then find a way to grow and push yourself to your Unique Ability™. Identify what you need to give up. It is worth the effort, and it is the only way to go up.