To be clear, I’m not implying that you are slacking. You’re not. If anything, you’re overwhelmed from working TOO hard, having figured out a completely new way of running your business in the last 18 months. But leave the pandemic aside for a minute—I hang around a lot of really smart leaders (and have for some time now), and underlying nearly everything they worry about is a simple but frustrating concept: Why aren’t I/we doing more?
Why are we stuck with low membership or revenue growth? Why can’t we crack the nut on sponsorship? Why doesn’t my senior team step up to the plate? Why do we let competitors swoop in and take our market share? Why do some of my best people leave for other organizations? Why do we start way more initiatives than we finish? Why am I holding back as a leader?
There are two angles you should take when answering those questions. The first is personal. If your organization is not having the impact you think it should, then you must ask yourself how you, personally, play a role in that. I’m not saying it’s your “fault.” I’m saying every one of us, individually, makes a contribution to the situation we find ourselves in. That’s always true. So what is it about your current approach that is holding you back?
We think a key piece of what’s missing is a growth mindset. A growth mindset (in an organizational context) is an approach to leadership that assumes an organization can and should be changing, innovating, and growing all the time. Part of that mindset is inside you, but it also exists in your team and in your organizational culture. We created our Growth Mindset Bootcamp online course with all three of those levels in mind. We think today, more than ever, leaders need to develop this.
The second angle is not personal—it’s systemic. A key reason organizations fall short of their expectations is that they have not created an integrated system that enables their culture, their strategy, and their execution to all work together seamlessly. Most organizations treat these things separately, which is a problem. What your culture values can derail your strategy (that’s the culture eats strategy for breakfast thing). How you execute your strategy can change your culture. In fact, disciplined execution is a function of how your culture connects strategy and execution to begin with. All three things are, in fact, one thing.
Without a system that connects all three, your culture, strategy, and execution all tend to be mediocre. In our Coaching Program, we help you build and implement that system, one piece at a time. Like all of our work, the Coaching Program is culture-driven, but we usually start with that strategy-to-execution bridge, because (back to the growth mindset) that’s the engine that drives growth (side note: we’re about to run a pilot of a group-based version of our coaching program that is more affordable for small-staff associations; you can learn more and pre-order here).
Photo by Arthur Poulin