Many people make the mistake of forgetting how they got to where they are, right at the time they start doing “well”. They start to believe they have everything figured out and then they slowly stop doing the things that propelled them to success. Things become “easy” for them in the short-term, and in the long-term they fall hard.
Seasoned leaders have made this mistake a couple of times. Instead of doing so again, they focus on maintaining a balance of acknowledging success as well as what needs to happen next to keep it going. They get nervous when things become “easy”, which leads to reinventing themselves time and time again.
The organizations most concerned about success, are those that have experienced it and want to continue reaching new highs. These are the most susceptible to complacency. Here are a few tips to help minimize complacency:
- If you disagree…. DISAGREE. It is easy to let something slide because the organization is doing “great”, however things that don’t seem quite right, likely are not.
- Make sure celebration does not become long-term comfort. We should always celebrate our wins, however if the celebration lasts too long the organization forgets what led to the success and takes a break from doing what is essential in continuing everyone’s growth.
- Never forget important metrics, and never stop tracking them. Even the best divisions and people have to get back to the basics from time to time. The goal is to never lose site of the basics.
- Remind the team that evolution is necessary. What led to the last win may not lead to the next, so everyone must remain sharp and innovative. Becoming predictable can equal complacency.
- Periodically review goals, update them, and lead discussions on current status.
One of the key responsibilities of a leader is to foster an environment where everyone has the opportunity to grow. If we let people become complacent, we are failing in our responsibility. It is a tough role to play, but it is absolutely necessary to be able to see the symptoms and correct them as fast as possible, even if it seems unpopular at the time.