In Action, Change, Leaders

“There are two kinds of companies – those that change, and those that disappear.” – Anonymous

Some of the most fascinating sentences you will ever hear begin with the words “I wish”.  They’re fascinating, not because of whatever words follow “I wish”, but because of whatever action follows the conversation.  Those sentences can be wildly impactful or hugely disappointing.

I hear leaders say “I wish” regularly.  Unfortunately, most of the time it’s hugely disappointing.  They’re usually complaining about how they wish something about their job was easier, or about how they wish their business was the same today as it was in 1998, or about how they wish the people they lead did everything that needed to be done perfectly and without any communication or direction whatsoever.

The problem with all that wishing isn’t the wishing itself.  The problem with all that wishing is that leaders are usually either wishing for something that’s impossible or wishing for things that are possible but then doing nothing about it.

The first problem is mostly just about self-pity.  To use the examples above, 1998 is over and it’s not coming back.  There are no such things as employees who need no leadership whatsoever.  Get over it.

The second problem can be about a lot of different things.  Fear, complacency, laziness, etc., can all play a role.  Whatever the cause, though, the outcome is the same.  Just wishing for something will never make it happen.  You must act.

Think about yourself as a leader.  How do you talk about your organization, or your role in it?  How do you talk about things that you’re not happy with?  Listen to the words you use.  Are you talking about impossibilities?  Are you mostly just whining and complaining?

Or, are you talking about things that could be, but will require some kind of change?  If it’s those kinds of things, what’s holding you back?  Fear of the unknown?  Uncertainty about what path to take?  Lack of understanding about how to actually make those changes?

Those barriers are legitimate, but you cannot allow them to keep you from moving forward.  Too many leaders face the same barriers for years and don’t do anything about them.  Eventually, both they and their businesses become obsolete.

Don’t let that be your fate.  When you hear yourself wishing for things, let go of what’s impossible, and attack what is.  Turn the wishing into doing.

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