In a world of fierce competition, new technologies, and greater complexity, one of the most important things a leader can do is create a culture of continuous improvement. The best leaders reinvent continuously.
A couple of weeks ago while traveling in Oregon I stayed at a hotel chain that missed the 21st century memo. Down the hall from my room I found a guest room full of tube TVs. Unless I missed a memo … there is not a chance these TVs will ever be useful again, and yet, a leader is making the decision to forfeit a room of revenue every night (and has for years). Seriously???
If you intend to be a leader who reinvents continuously it will require you to think differently. Most of us are guilty of falling into routines and patterns of thinking that feel comfortable. We like predictable. The tried-and-true feels safe and secure. Unfortunately, what got you here most likely want get you there, if there represents a preferred future. Great leaders are willing to blaze a trail of change when it comes to what they do. The only thing that is unchanging is who they are … they never change their values.
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Not only do you need to think differently, but you also need to act strategically. It is one thing to dream and imagine, but at some point to stay ahead you will be required to act. A bias for action will propel you and those you lead to a better place, especially if your action is steeped in strategy and careful thought. By strategically implementing your vision on a consistent basis you will gain a competitive advantage.
Leaders who reinvent continuously also understand the importance of managing change. In today’s environment, the only thing that is inevitable is change. Someone once said, “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like being irrelevant even less.” The reality is things are changing more rapidly than ever before. Are you pushing yourself to stay fresh? Do you work to stay current in your knowledge and expertise? If not, you will never be able to manage the changes that come your way. Great leaders are able to guide their people through a maze of modifications, recognizing progress is always preceded by change.
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Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” Wise leaders embrace this mindset and learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable. They look for ways to improve their systems, structures, teams, and perhaps most importantly themselves. Those who arrive at greatness never look the same as they did when they started.
A better future is available to you and your people, but only if you decide to go after it. You will never hope your way to a better place. No, you will arrive there by thinking differently, acting strategically, and managing change. And once you arrive, if you’re the really rare leader, you will realize you never really arrive. It will be time to reinvent once again. Why? Because high performance leaders reinvent continuously.
To help you and your team reinvent continuously and to learn more more of the best practices of leading others, pick up a copy of The Secret Field Guide.