When Spinning Your Wheels, Dig Deep and Try a New Approach

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Three phone calls: A colleague who is an internal catalyst who has given his all to get new things going – only to see them shut down due to problems in the core business.  A reader who leads a breakout sales team and fights the internal inertia more than his competition.  A senior team member who has poured her heart into finding good m&a opportunities, only to have them not go through.

In every growth leader’s journey there is that moment when you have done all that you can to prepare, but then you get well along, and it gets really hard.

It’s a bit like the road grader that takes a bit too much on and starts spinning its wheels.

All the above leaders had the same basic question – How do you know when it’s time to stop pushing and try a new tactic?

This pattern is more familiar than you think, as every growth leader goes through the hero’s journey. It’s a familiar theme in most every great story: the Hero feels the call.  The Hero gets prepared.  The Hero sets off with enthusiasm and gusto.  The Hero gets hit with known resistance and deals with it.  Then the Hero gets hit by unknowable resistance and is shaken.  It’s during this moment that true transformation and shaping takes place.

This is when the growth leader needs to look deep inside and decide if the juice is worth the squeeze.  In meeting the unknown resistance, character is built and transformation occurs.

At a personal level, the key to making it through this resistance comes down to resilience.  In my Complete Growth Leader Coaching work, we talk about Anchoring  as one of the four essential competencies.  Anchoring is the ability to have a solid personal foundation that allows you to be “anchored” in areas outside the current work challenge such as in family,  a faith system or key friends.

Let me take a moment for those who have really been overrun by their journey, whatever the cause.  If you can’t (and haven’t) seen daylight for some time, and need help to get back on track, do it.  Most organizations have trusted and confidential resources to help, and I can tell you they work.  If you are solo, check out great resources like SCORE, who can help you get a mentor and regain perspective

So, having regathered your personal strength, what are the practical steps you can take when you just run out of gas on your journey?

1) Reset your vision.  Zoom in and zoom out. Step back (way back) and do the math.  If you are able to climb this hurdle, does the business case hold up?    Will it be transformational?

2) Regain perspective.  Leave the scene for a moment. Go see a movie, talk to a random friend, listen to a new radio station. Information for a breakthrough can come from anywhere, but has been known to develop when we take time to step back.

3) Multiply and divide – what if you had to cut the scope of your current challenge in half; how would you do it?  What if you had to make twice as many?  By allowing yourself a scale change, you might think of something new.

There are a dozen key moments on the growth leader’s journey.  We will be working through them in the next few weeks with concrete and practical ideas and actions that can help you right where you’re at.  If you’d like to be part of our program of CGL Coaching, or Right Project Right Team Right Plan, give Scott a call at 847-651-1014 (direct) or drop him an email.

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