They Need You to Let Go

photo-1423784346385-c1d4dac9893aOrganizations and people go through developmental arcs. Sometimes the perfect strategy, business environment, talent, resources, and messaging align like the stars. Leaders are collaborative, communicative, and innovative. Employees are engaged, change masters, and motivated. Risk-taking is measured and effective. The focus is on maximizing possibility and not fixation on metrics.

Yes, metrics have their place, but if all of the nuanced and artful components of leadership fall by the wayside – those very things that create “the secret sauce” of success; we wind up tied to reports, numbers, doing, and stress – not outcomes. Budget cuts become the excuse for not investing in your people. Those who can drive your future success, (if you are lucky enough to keep them in this environment), are blocked from the very nourishment that makes them most valuable to you and candidates for promotion. Expectations that the company is your employees’ life creep in, as bottom line focus replaces supporting them. The very people you count on to stay energized are drained by corporate machine blindness.

Giving people strategy to develop and implement creatively with an understanding of where the company is headed is essential. People need to know where they’re going in order to plan, unify, and leverage their skill. Missing targets are essential learning moments for every company. Why did you exceed it by 15%? Was your intel faulty? Were you under predicting to come across as though you outperformed? Is it replicable? Were there new processes that streamlined delivery and cut costs? Were new people introduced with additional talent or pipelines of customers? Did you discover a tangential customer stream? Conversely, why did you miss the mark by 15%? Were the expectations unrealistic? Was the sales team under-staffed? Did a competitor enter the marketplace? Was your marketing message stale or delivered to the wrong niche? Analyzing is all part of the organizational developmental arc. These learning moments make you better.

However, if you are failing to support your people, are not allowing them to pilot, test, try, and keep learning; you’ll miss your Edison light bulb. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”[1] Failure to produce and perform in terms of bad attitude, not showing up, not engaging, etc. is not what we’re talking about here. Take a good close look as this year wraps up at whether or not you are letting go as a leader – an unsung and yet primary quality of those who are the world’s best leaders, innovators, and top performers. If you’re willing to be clear, encourage, inquire, collaborate, listen, and let go, you’ve got a real shot at a transformative culture and a fabulous 2017.

Let go and get going…..

[1] Retrieved. Dec. 31, 2016

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