Why great leaders never blame environmental factors for their problems


Are you screaming at the rain as a leader? It’s easy to imagine that on some days, especially if you work in tourism or agriculture, you might start to view the weather as your enemy. But if you find yourself yelling at the rain, blaming the weather, or some other uncontrollable factor for slowing down your business, then you’re missing out on a key point.

While the weather can have a negative impact on your business, it does the same to your competition. In other words, if your business is suffering, it’s not the rain’s fault. It’s your job as a leader to dig deeper and identify the real stress within your business.

It’s not the weather’s fault.

It’s a bad habit some CEOs fall into: they start blaming external factors for poor business performance. Besides the weather, other common targets of the fury are the economy, the job market and any other administration in the White House. It doesn’t matter which party is in control – someone will blame them for doing things wrong.

The catch, just like with the weather, is that everything the administration does also impacts your competition. This means that it doesn’t really create a disadvantage for your business. The rain is falling on everyone.

The other problem with blaming the weather and the politicians is that there is nothing you can do directly to make a difference. Of course, you might be able to lobby or put pressure on a local elected official. But that will only lead to a limited change. And forget about trying to change the weather.

One of my favorite books is a classic by the famous Dale Carnegie titled Stop worrying and start living. The main takeaway from Dale’s book is that if you can’t do anything about a particular problem, and you can live with the worst-case scenario, then it’s best to stop worrying about it and spend your time and energy elsewhere. .

Find your kink.

As I wrote in my book, Great CEOs are lazy, one of the most impactful activities a leader can do with their time is to spend it identifying that “kink” in their pipe – the real stress point holding back the growth of their business.

Perhaps it is a business model issue, such as lack of recurring revenue or an untenable market position. Or it could even be a system issue that makes onboarding new employees difficult and inefficient.

But when I talk to CEOs, only about half of them really understand what their constraint is. They are more concerned with the economy or the regulatory environment — which, as we have defined, are not things you can control.

Even the war for the best talent is something every business faces, including your competition.

The power of change.

One way to help understand whether you are dealing with an “environmental” constraint – which impacts your entire market – versus your true stress point is to answer the question: can you change it. ?

If you can’t change it, then it’s best to kiss Dale Carnegie and stop worrying about it. This does not mean that there is nothing you can do about it or take steps to adapt to these environmental conditions. It’s just that you need to stop blaming it as the number one reason for your business growth slowing down.

As you dig deeper into your business, eventually you’ll find this thing that’s broken that you can control and fix. When you can untie your pipe this way, you might find yourself in a whole different place in your business. And dare I say, maybe even sing in the rain.

The opinions expressed here by the columnists of Inc.com are theirs and not those of Inc.com.

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