The Leadership Layover

Sometimes leaders of companies look like airline passengers whose flights have been cancelled and everyone is just waiting on another connection. We call it a layover in the airport, but what do we call it when this behavior shows up in our companies as we await making a decision? What are we waiting for? As leaders of companies and team members, people are counting on us to make the decisions necessary to move things forward. The time is now. Many of us had a bit of a challenging 2009, would you agree? From the middle of the year, I heard from friends, associates, clients, and business owners that they can’t wait for 2010 to get here. Well my friends, it has arrived, so what are we doing differently now than we did in 2009?

It’s easy to get “caught up” in negativity. We all have a tendency to look at what’s wrong instead of all the wonderful things that are right. However, we have a responsibility since we’ve chosen to be leaders and top managers to do things differently. Our people deserve it, our clients deserve it, and yes, we deserve it. We all have an innate desire to grow. It’s my belief that all humans share this desire. Because we’re in leadership positions, we need to seek growth more than ever. Which begs the question, what are you personally doing to improve yourself, your leadership skills, and the way you communicate these things to your team? It’s time to take action to improve, grow, and impact your company.

In 2009, my company lost sight of some aspects of our overall vision. I know we’re not alone here because I’ve had conversations with leaders of varying sized companies from all over the country who found themselves in the same boat. Why? I can only answer from my perspective. What happened at my company is that we got a little “surprised” by how fast the downturn surfaced in our market. We had been living in a bit of a bubble with oil industry presence and we didn’t feel some of the national or global indicators early on. This, however, changed very quickly and we found ourselves in a downward spiral. We became more focused on surviving than living our vision. We must all learn from this so we handle it differently in the future. It’s a balance between the higher level “soft” skills of leadership and the down and dirty urgency of implementation and action.

Vision is one of the most important aspects of our companies. If we lose sight of vision, growth will slow, production will stagnate, and the invisible magnet that pulls all things forward will lose its field of power. In my company, we made the necessary adjustments to remain healthy in 2009, positioned ourselves for growth in 2010, and have re-focused on the vision of the organization. Vision is long-term. We all made it through 2009, and it’s entirely possible we’ll have years like that at some point in the future. Vision keeps the heads up in the organization. It helps team members and ourselves realize that our current reality is short-term, because we’re thinking bigger than today.

Make no mistake, vision does not replace massive action, but it is the guide as we make necessary daily decisions to navigate the current situation we face. Take some time and re-define your Vision Statement. Make sure it represents what you want to portray and feels right for you and your organization. Have a great month and combat any Leadership Layover with taking the right actions now. Go get results!!!