THE DOLDRUMS OF LEADERSHIP
As leaders, there’s never a lack of things to do. There’s always a customer to talk to, a product to update, a tactic to adjust, and strategies to build. However, there are those ‘in between’ times when you feel like you are standing still and waiting.
We all know that you aren’t just sitting around twiddling your thumbs. Far from it! However, the latest sprint of work you just released needs time to be executed by the team – so it might very well feel that way. This incredibly important early period allows for customer feedback and the inevitable adjustments necessary for success. These sprints are usually big strategic projects that change some meaningful part of your go-to market strategy. They’re the strategies we find ourselves thinking about constantly — the strategies that distract us so much that they warrant that infamous death stare from our significant other after realizing that they were asking us a question at the dinner table…. Not that that’s EVER happened to me, of course!
In all seriousness, this work is the fun stuff. But, this type of constant strategic thinking can only take you so far.
There comes a point in time when there isn’t anything to do other than release it into the market, and see how that market reacts.
I used to HATE these waiting periods. They made me anxious and I would spin myself out thinking about all the different scenarios; and how we should react if each scenario happened.
If A sales process failed, then we could do B demand gen campaign. If C price was too high, then we could do D discount. If E packaging actually works, then we can upsell with F. It was paralyzing to know that if we changed anything before feedback from the market returned, then we were being dumb.
As my partner Scott once asked, “Are you doing this work to just make yourself feel like you are doing something?‘
I am using it in past tense because one of my goals going into 2017 is to enjoy these ‘down periods’ more.
I’m trying to see the releases as having completed a big workload, celebrating it, and using the time to see the business from the outside in. This line of thinking allows me to start with the end in mind.
We are certainly never finished planning, adjusting and executing. So, as we sit in the middle of the heavy planning season, remember to start with the end in mind.
More importantly, remember to celebrate every success, no matter how big or small, until the execution of your strategy is complete. Until then, it’s not – so keep that patience up!