“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
While perusing through more Harvard Business Review (HBR) articles online, I found a 2009 article on Personal Reinvention: Innovation Inventory #10 by Scott Anthony. I didn’t think that I was the only one utilizing Einstein’s words to show wisdom in leadership, but I particularly like the focus of this article. Anthony says, “Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing and expecting different results. Managers hoping to transform their businesses have to start by transforming themselves.”
So, if the best way to ameliorate our teams and organizations is to focus on ourselves, what exactly should we do with our time, and how should we approach this transformation? How will we know when we have transformed? Is transformation the end result, or a constant step in the “process”?
Let’s dissect some of these questions:
My mentor, Howard Hansen wrote an article this week on understanding the origins, sources, and triggers of our fear and anxiety. Hansen suggests that the way he was able to discover the sources of his anxiety was by looking at his family history. This process was also very helpful to me in understanding how a history of a long line of women and their challenges contributed to mine. Families are very similar to businesses. I have personally seen how lingering challenges from previous terrible managers or leaders can stifle a company from moving forward.
Only after we identify our internal setbacks can we nip them in the bud, and truly begin to transform. It is difficult if not impossible to really improve oneself until all personal issues or “problem weight” has been identified and overcome.
I would suggest paying close attention to how your reactions are changing [if at all]. Do you feel less anxious? Are you approaching things differently? In what time frame are you responding to events? What is the first thought that comes to mind when encountering a change? If your answers to these questions have changed, chances are you are in the process of transformation. But, be warned! Transformation is not always a road to improvement. Your reactions may have worsened, and you could actually be devolving. Positive transformation requires discipline and a strong will to change.
A Constant Step or the End Result?
I hope that I never plateau as a leader. I hope that tomorrow I am a better leader than today. I want to always be susceptible to improvement where discovering new concepts and methods will cause me to examine my own behavior, and perhaps change it for the better. Improvement is a constant process and not a singular event.
How will you avoid being the stagnant business leader? Share your thoughts with us below.