I’ve heard it said that anyone can steer a ship when the seas are calm, but it takes a leader at the helm when the seas are rough and unpredictable. Well, I have discovered that it takes a leader at the helm when seas are calm too.
I was having a conversation with one of the people I coach recently and when I asked him how business was going he said, “Never better!”. When I asked him how he was doing, he paused and said he had some problems with the team and with the engagement level of the people. After pursuing this for a few minutes we finally agreed that he had become complacent and had stopped doing the things that led to the “never better” business.
It's easy when times are good and success is within reach to back-off on the very things that got us there. That’s human nature and something you need to fight against. Maintaining your daily disciplines EVEN WHEN things are going well is key to sustained, long term success.
5 Tips to Lead When Times are Good
1. Vision, Vision, Vision
The best leaders I have seen never stop sharing the vision of where we are going. If you or the people on your team think they have arrived at the final destination, it is easy to back-off or slow down. Bonus tip: you have never arrived. You are a change agent. The journey is the destination. If there is no need for change there is no need for you.
2. Daily Disciplines
Complacency can creep in when the team is looking at the big picture without concern for the daily habits that lead to the big picture. If you make the daily activities the focus the big picture will take care of itself.
3. Track what matters
Tracking changes everything! But you must track the right things. Complacency creeps in when we either don’t track progress or we track only the end result, not the daily and weekly activities that lead to where we want to go.
Insist on the team working together. Alone, is it easy to tell myself I am done. With the team, we keep pushing forward.
Celebrate the small wins. Without celebration it is easy for the team to become disenchanted on the long haul of sustained success. Plus, the celebration of a small win is a great opportunity to restate the vision and re-establish energy toward the larger goal.
So whether the seas are rough or the seas are calm, be the leader you need to be to avoid team complacency.