“The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it.” – Chinese Proverb
There are literally thousands of books and articles and videos and everything else out there on the importance of leadership and how to lead your organization successfully. Lots of those talk about similar things: you have to be a lifelong learner, you have to be adaptable, you have to have a clear vision, you have to communicate, etc.
All those things are good. You do need them. But what about some things you need to get rid of? It’s good to try and add positives and energy boosters to our world. But how often do we step back and look at the barriers, the things that are holding us back? How often do we try and identify the thing or handful of things that are stopping us from being as successful as we like?
Some of you are thinking, we do that all the time. We work on barriers to efficiency in production, we work on improving our struggling cash flow, we work on time management, and so on. And maybe you do. But that’s not where this is going.
I’m talking about people. How often do you step back and look at your organization and evaluate who is holding us back? And I’m not really even talking about people with insufficient job-related skills. I’m talking about those people who drain your energy.
We have a limited amount of energy and we all have to use it wisely. We cannot afford to have people taking it from us. Yet we allow that to go on in our organizations over and over, for years at a time. You know the people I’m talking about. The people who if they came in and quit you’d be secretly relieved. The people who’ve never seen an idea they couldn’t poke holes in. The people you have to drag along on every initiative. Dealing with them just sucks the energy out of us.
We make lots of excuses for not dealing with it. But it’s all just excuses. The reality is you’d gain so much from their leaving that whatever positives you lost by their leaving would barely be noticed. Think about somebody like that in your organization. How much time do you spend dealing with or thinking about or stressing about them? What could you do with that time if it wasn’t spent on them?
Don’t limit your improvement efforts to just adding good stuff. You have to think about and get rid of the bad, too. And that ‘bad’ isn’t just inanimate objects or messed up processes. Sometimes it’s individuals who are blocking the road. Don’t let them interrupt your success.