I saw the following words on a poster in my bank manager’s office the other day.
Complacency. Just because things are going well now, doesn’t mean that they can’t suddenly go horribly wrong.
It was just below a photograph of a snail resting on a railway track, with a train approaching in the distance. While I realize that the poster was slightly tongue-in-cheek, I was still reminded about how easily and quickly leaders can fall into this very trap.
Sure, it’s nice to have a period of time when things seem to be moving along smoothly, when the bumps in the road are small enough that they can almost be ignored. But the reality is that while a short reprieve to catch your breath and celebrate success is well-deserved, resting on your laurels for too long can only get you into trouble. When we get complacent, we tend to both under-estimate the risks we face, as well as over-estimate our own abilities. And when complacency kicks in, things can suddenly go horribly wrong.
How would you know?
This poster got me thinking about how we would know if we are falling into the complacency trap. What are the clues you should watch for as a leader that might indicate you are taking the status quo for granted? Here is the list I came up with: Continue reading