Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another. – John Dewey
As leaders find success in their leadership journeys, the unfortunate result is that many people become stagnant, no longer developing but instead allowing ideas, partnerships and progress to lie dormant. As leaders, we must defend against the notion that “we have arrived” and fight to continually pursue growth and excellence.
The day you believe that you have arrived is the day you begin moving backwards and become increasingly irrelevant in your sphere of influence. That is what the phrase “Always Forward” embodies for me – you never truly “arrive.” There is always room to take your leadership to an even higher level.
Now, you may decide that you no longer want to pursue a certain project or you may choose to only go so far with an idea, but that does not give you permission to sit on the sidelines and let opportunities pass you by. Instead of “arriving,” great leaders pivot and keep moving forward in other areas.
Great leaders also keep learning. Just as a muscle deteriorates when it is not exercised, our mind deteriorates when it is not being stimulated.
I have a great friend, Mike Langley, who runs Greater MSP, an economic development group in Minneapolis. He gets up every day and the first thing he does is Sudoku or another brain-stimulating puzzle. Mike is an extraordinary leader. He is a decorated military officer and holds an incredible reputation in economic development. He openly shares that one of the keys to his success is waking up every morning to an activity that energizes his mind. Mike could very well quit learning; he has excelled so much in his leadership that he could throw in the towel and allow his work to become static, but instead he chooses to always move forward. He chooses to lead.
You see, Mike understands what a lot of leaders do not: the moment you stop learning is the moment you begin hurting the people you are serving. Some leaders want to put themselves in “park” and allow others around them to keep moving along. Let me be clear, this is no longer called leadership. If you have slipped into the mindset that you have arrived, it is time to either get out of the way or re-engage to allow your team to pursue greatness.
Question: How do you prevent against the “arrival” mentality in your leadership?