Overcoming Leadership Inertia

By nature and nurture, I am a researcher. 

The internet is great for researchers. It’s also a curse.

On one hand, I learned how to fix my dishwasher on the net. 

On the other hand, I read a brief article about Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier this morning, and if I am not mindful, I could spend six hours studying supersonic flight today.

It can also serve as a distraction from making progress on my most important goals. 

As we approach the mid-point of February, when the energy of the new year wanes, here are four things I am learning about overcoming inertia in leadership.

1. Start

Researching is good, but it is not starting. 

We are in the midst of changing CRMs, payroll services, workflows, and delivery systems. After doing a little research, we had to START making the actual change. 

This usually involved making a call, sending an e-mail, or scheduling an appointment.

Stop researching and start.

2. Ask questions

My stubborn pride often keeps me from asking questions. 

Recently, I stumbled on a little phrase that helped me get over myself. 

“I am at the end of my understanding of that. Can you explain it to me?”

There is nothing wrong with not knowing. There is something wrong with not admitting that I don’t know. 

3. Make adjustments

Based on what you have learned by asking questions, you then make adjustments. 

According to sources, millions of people watched the Super Bowl over the weekend. It always surprises me when people talk about halftime adjustments. Great coaches don’t wait until halftime to start to adjust. They gather information series by series and adapt as they go. 

They may make more adjustments at halftime, but great leaders adjust throughout their day based on what they are learning. 

4. Celebrate progress

I missed this one for years. 

I used to only celebrate when I was finished. Now, I try to celebrate progress. 

Am I one step closer to my overall goal than I was this morning?  

Even learning that something is not going to work is progress. It is frustrating and aggravating, but knowing what doesn’t work is one step closer to finding the right solution.


Brian Rutherford

Brian Rutherford is the Chief Operating Officer for Leadercast. Brian has been telling stories professionally for twenty-five years. Stories that inspire people to see themselves and the world differently. Stories that challenge people to take meaningful action in the world.

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