Don’t Be Obsolete

“People in any organization are always attached to the obsolete – the things that should have worked but did not, the things that once were productive and no longer are.”
Peter F. Drucker

A successful leadership practice is the ability to let go of the past and stay in learner mode. When leaders move to a new company or new position, the ones who succeed are those who understand that what worked with past teams and companies may not work with the new one. This ability to be aware that the past is not the future keeps them from being obsolete.

I see leaders fail when they try to match what they built in their previous role into the new one. Unhappy team members often say, “I’m tired of hearing about what they did at their last company.” If the leader does not change and see the environment with new eyes and listen with new ears, they will become obsolete.

If you want to stay relevant and not become obsolete, here are the best practices that will allow you to thrive and align a team to high performance:

  • Be open-minded.
  • Listen more than talk.
  • Ask open-ended questions to engage others in truly defining the situation and what is the best path forward.
  • Share best practices you have seen in other situations and ask for feedback or ideas on what might be relevant in this situation.
  • Work with your team to explore what is gaining lift in the industry and what you could learn from others to apply in the current situation.
  • When you start to get solutions that will take two years, ask your team how you might run a parallel short-term strategy.
  • Let go of the need to be the one with the answer to experience and embrace your role as a leader to “synergize” your team to great outcomes.
  • If you have key information, practice, tools, etc. that will impact your team’s success and keep them from going down a wrong path, share it clearly and work with them to find out how to adapt in a way that works with their environment.
  • If you can see far beyond your team, pause, and start communicating what you are seeing so they can be aligned with you.

In today’s world, the terrain changes rapidly, and sticking to what worked may become what holds you and your team back. Be willing to embrace new methods to support different teams and companies achieve their goals. There is always a better way.

Let Go to Grow,