Why current reality is never good enough

As a consultant and business coach, I often wish I could have my clients lie on a couch while I sit in a big leather chair asking deep questions and taking notes. I’m not a psychologist nor do I want to be one. But just as a psychologist’s job is to help patients seek understanding and clarity, my job is to help leaders navigate the unpredictable waters of leadership, business, finance and human dynamics.

In many ways, it’s the leader’s job to obsess over darn near everything. It’s the leader’s job to constantly move the company forward. If the company is stuck or in the fiery pits of hell, it’s the leader’s job to unstick it and get the company on the path to daylight. When the company hits goal or has any sort of a big win, it’s only a short respite to celebrate, and then it’s back to the game of business.

Current reality can never be good enough when you’re a leader. A problem needs to be solved because another problem is on the way. Today’s innovation will become tomorrow’s commodity. A win needs to be followed by another win. The relentless pace of change recognizes current reality as imperfect. That makes current reality every leader’s nemesis. It’s pretty exhausting when you think about it.

Here are some no-compromise strategies to help you deal with the reality of current reality:

  • Imperfect but good: When your job is to obsess over everything, it’s easy to see all the things that are wrong and need fixing. It’s easy to get stuck in the “nothing is good enough” mode. Well, guess what? Everything isn’t wrong, broken or not working. You and your business had to do a whole lot of things right to get where you are – even if where you are isn’t such a fun place right now. So, before you beat yourself and your company up for what you don’t like, take time to celebrate and appreciate all that’s good and wonderful about your company. You deserve it. Your team deserves it. Lighten up for bit – then get back in the game.
  • Friend not foe: One of my current realities is that I cannot consistently ride my favorite 30-mile bike route at a speed of more than 17 miles-per-hour. There are a fair number of hills and I’m just not a fast hill climber. But I keep trying and I’m gaining. My current reality is simply a benchmark – something to improve upon. I’m 61 years old, and I’m intent on improving my personal best time. Shift that thinking to business and leadership; current reality will start working to your advantage.
  • Own don’t blame: Don’t like your company’s current reality? Guess what, you lead it there. When you engage in the blame, justify, and defend game, your current reality is going to become more imperfect, stressful and intolerable. More things will go wrong and spiral out of control. The first step to improve current reality is for the leader who led it there to own it. And I mean own it all.
  • Encouragement not discouragement: When you allow your current reality to wear you down and get the best of you, it will have a discouraging effect on not only you, but on your entire team. Employees can and will pick up on your funk and become discouraged right along with you. If you position current reality as a benchmark or state to improve upon, you can tap into its motivational aspects, just as I do with my bike riding. Try: “Let’s get better; let’s be the best” to lift and improve team performance.
  • Action not inaction: You change your current reality by taking positive action. Inaction will just give you more of what you don’t want. So, look for the possibilities that exist out there. Or, you can continue to look down at current reality and lead your company right over the cliff you would have seen if you were paying attention.

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Please share your thoughts with me about today’s Monday Morning Wake-Up. Click above to comment.

Neil Ducoff, Founder & CEO of Strategies and author of No-Compromise Leadership

Pass this e-mail on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They’ll appreciate it.


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