think more

Blog #266

In the next 12 months, countless organizations that are run by well-intending leaders (who are “working harder”) will run off the cliff of failure. Don’t let this be you!

For many senior business leaders and owners, our default setting during challenging times is often ‘Work Harder’. Typically, this is a result of how we navigated growing pains and obstacles in the past; however, more often than not, it may not be the right course of action. In fact, I have seen instances where this default becomes the top limiting factor to the growth of an organization. Not surprisingly, I see this same sort of thinking in how senior leaders live their personal lives.

I realize this approach was often needed in the past in order to survive. Without any question, if you have started a business from scratch, there have been many days, nights, and weekends when you had to work harder. I have been there and lived it. Candidly speaking, I love it; yet I have to be conscientious of not defaulting back to it. I am aware that as an organization matures, this is rarely the right approach.

We usually revert to the “Work Harder” approach when we are nervous, scared, or experiencing a lot of change. I believe that now – more than ever – it is critical for senior leaders to slow down and take the time to think. This ensures they have a clear vision of where they are going, as well as specific, strategic steps to achieve this vision.

Yes, it may sound very basic, but I can’t tell you how often I see great, mature companies revert to the “Work Harder” mentality, precisely when they should be safeguarding a vision of where they want to go. Once they have the vision, they must consider the current and changing business environment, and create a straightforward plan to achieve their objectives. Lastly, they must invest a ton of time in communicating this to their team.

Because the COVID-19 and shutdown chaos is dramatically impacting businesses, the only guarantee we have is that tomorrow will be different than yesterday. If you are only “Working Harder” and running your business like you did yesterday, hoping your default behavior will pull you of out a jam, it probably won’t turn out that way. In other words, when things get crazy, the environment changes, and you begin hitting your peak level of freak-out, stop working harder and start thinking more.

It is in times such as these when the true value of a senior leader’s leadership skills will be realized. It becomes critical to refresh and remind themselves about their long-term vision – their Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal (BHAG). With this in mind, creating a strategy by taking the time to assess the market, available resources, opportunities, trends, and challenges is the highest and best use of their time and energy.

This big thinking cannot be achieved by working harder. You have to take the time to process the situation, revisit your vision, and be proactive. This will probably result in a few fires continuing to burn, challenges not getting met, and some frustrated people. Making these hard decisions and taking the time to create a strategy to navigate out of a challenge is the obligation of senior leaders.

Here is my question to you: Are you reacting to your current situation and “Working Harder”? Or are you making the hard decision to let some fires burn so you can take the time to focus on the big picture? Are you setting aside time to create the strategic direction to ensure long-term success?

If you are feeling stuck, I would be happy to give you 45 minutes of my time for a free Zoom call to help you to get back on track.

Are you a senior leader who is interested in learning more about doing less and thinking more? Would you like to discuss ways to ensure your organization’s long-term success? Contact us today with a no-obligation to find out how!

Keep Smiling,


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