Ridin’ That Train

The ability to see ahead (or even around the curve) is a requirement for leadership. Every time I get in a leader slot I am amazed by how my vision shortens.
As a consultant, subordinate leader, or individual contributor I could usually make a substantial contribution, often seeing farther than the boss.
When I’m the boss, I cherish the contributors who have prepared for when it is their time to shine.
What is going on? There are only so many hours in the day, and focusing wide at the top makes it harder to get the energy to focus deep.
People want your time when they feel lonely or uncertain. I think static office workplaces have an incredible loss of focus to accommodate social needs. It’s much nicer to sit around in the warm and drink coffee.
Lightweights overcome the discomfort of leadership by doing their last job better, maybe approaching perfectly. If you are too busy doing your last job to do your current job, your successor will do your current job.
I’ve also noticed that the great leaders, when forced to face down their responsibilities, will carve out a job that is quite different than what their predecessors did, often severely inconveniencing those who had manipulated the predecessor best. The very best I ever met regularly upset his organization and spent the time in between getting a fix on what needed to be changed next.
He was repeatedly cannibalizing the best organization he could build.
That was hard on the marginal producers looking to slide by. They left.
It also created a cadre of 30 year loyalists, and one of the key growth stories of American Business.
One key was using the vision of others in the organization to see better and focus more sustained than he could by himself.
How do you leverage your organization?

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Steve Cottle

“If you are too busy doing your last job to do your current job, your successor will do your current job.” Terrific point!