I’ve heard it said that if you aren’t moving your organization forward, you’re dying. There is no such thing as standing still.
Can’t Go Backward
The reason that you can’t go backward is simple. You are not the same person. Your organization is not the same organization. The marketplace has moved on. Your customers have also changed and moved on. There really isn’t any way to go but forward—or leave the scene completely.
Great leaders keep organizations moving forward. If one path turns out to be taking them in the wrong direction, they find their way to a new path.
Burn The Boats
There is a myth that Cortés when he landed on the Yucatán shores, ordered his men to burn the boats. There was then no way to retreat. This small band of invaders would have no choice but to fight their way forward, through the enemy, in order to get back home.
We know today, how Cortés’ decision to burn his boats panned out. Hernán Cortés became the first man in 600 years to successfully conquer Mexico.
Today, that short three-word phrase, “Burn The Boats” has come to mean that we must make a real commitment to our values, vision, and mission. There is no going back. And there is no standing still either.
On The Right Track
At the risk of mixing too many metaphors: Even if you’re on the right track, if you’re standing still, you will be overrun by a train. So it takes more for a leader to do her job than to just keep things on track. She has to stay ahead of the disruptive technology train.
None of this is easy. We are talking about continuous, significant change management in order to keep things moving forward. As we know, people do not like being changed. Keeping our organizations moving is a Sisyphean task. Are you up to it? Do you have the stamina? The persistence? Nobody said leadership is easy!