Is it time to hit the reset button?

February 10, 2014 | By Neil Ducoff | 1 Comment

reset_button1Achieving success is never a straight line. Mixed in with all the wins, leaps and bounds are setbacks, distractions and disappointments – perhaps even a crisis or two. Companies, and people, evolve over time into a collection of thinking and behavior that directly influences and impacts performance and quality. Even the most extraordinary leaders can only keep a company’s thinking and behavior in sync with its vision, mission and purpose for just so long.

Companies mature. Systems age. People and talent move on. Indifference finds its way into your culture. Sometimes, after being on your game for so long, you just want to say, “I’m tired.” It’s the simple process of evolution and time where the one absolute is that life and business are in states of perpetual change. You have to go with it, lead it and manage it. And every now and then, when change gets too far ahead of you and your company…you need to hit the “Reset” button.

Hitting the Reset button is like restoring your smartphone to its original factory settings. It instantly gets rid of all the performance-slowing junk that has accumulated over time. It gives you a clean start. For leaders and companies, the time to hit the Reset button is when status quo becomes unacceptable – when everyone and everything needs a wake-up call…including you.

Here are some no-compromise strategies on when and how to hit the Reset button:

  • Intolerable toleration: When lackluster performance or “I don’t care … It’s not my job” indifference surface, when waste, inefficiency, and mediocrity become the norm – you get what “intolerable toleration” is all about. Luckily, recognizing “intolerable toleration” leads you to a moment of truth about your leadership and where your company is going. Do you want to endure another year or two of what you don’t like – or are you ready to take action? Fact: Intolerable tolerations become more embedded in the collective thinking and behavior of your company each day you allow them to continue.
  • Seize the moment: Your company is waiting for you to lead and point the way. Your employees, believe it or not, are waiting for you to lead and point the way to a better tomorrow. Your customers – past, current and future – are waiting to once again experience the extraordinary delight of doing business with a winner. But while they’re waiting, the gradual defection to the competition has already begun. It’s time to hit the Reset button and seize the moment. The clock is ticking.
  • Baggage check: Companies accumulate stuff over time – a lot of stuff. Systems that were once powerful and effective have gotten old, forgotten or ignored. What about your attitude and engagement as leader? Have you become indifferent and cynical? Are you sucking the life out of your team by micromanaging everything … or leaving them to fill the leadership role because you’re the one that checked out? Are there individuals on your payroll that drag the rest of the team down, don’t perform and live in the dysfunctional world of “entitlement” thinking? Is your company burdened with too much debt? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to hit the Reset button and jettison useless or cumbersome baggage.
  • Bring out the BHAG: So you hit the Reset button. Now, what are you going to do with your fresh start? What are you going to offer up to your team to rally them around a worthy cause, capture their imaginations and unleash their collective energy? A BHAG is a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal.” It’s your refreshed, upgraded and totally awesome vision for the near future. It gives a stagnant or drifting company something to believe in and fight for. Key Point: Never hit the Reset button without having a BHAG ready to launch.
  • Think “18 months”: You are fooling yourself to think that hitting the Reset button will instantly change things for the better. You must prepare yourself and your team for the long haul. A company needs time to change and adapt. Hitting the Reset button means that you and your company are going to go through an all-consuming culture shift to new thinking and behaviors, which can take the better part of 18 months to settle down and lock in. The reason is simple: Old thinking and behavior continues to lurk for months and years after a reset – and will resurface whenever and wherever it finds a weakness.
  • Live it – lead it: You are the No-Compromise Leader. You are the face and voice of your company. Your courage, tenacity, openness and integrity are on the line. You must live and model the new thinking and behavior your reset demands. You must be present, engaged and committed to leading your team to the extraordinary opportunities that await it. Anything less is a compromise.
  • You may need a guide: Resets are major undertakings. Even with the best intentions and plans, you and your reset initiative may go off course and stall. It makes sense to work with a coach to guide you, show you where the land mines are, and develop new essential skills … and of course, to hold you accountable. Coaching is an investment – not a cost. http://www.strategies.com/coachingconsulting

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Categories: Business Builders , Leadership , Monday Morning Wake-Up , No-Compromise Leadership

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