Leadership Dead Zone

I got busted. Busted in the Leadership Dead Zone.

I signed up to be a Contributing Author here on the Linked 2 Leadership Blog. Over the last year I have been one of the top contributors. I signed up because I wanted to serve a larger community with what I have learned and to point the growing audience of global professionals to additional resources that could help them in their leadership journeys.

I have a servant’s heart and want to contribute to others with this personal leadership initiative of mine. I want to give back to others out of appreciation for what I have received. But something happened to me along my journey. I lost something in the dead-zone fog of leadership atrophy.

It’s like I dropped my car keys somewhere and never really got off the couch to go find them.

In actual terms, I have been procrastinating for quite some time now from writing another entry that would serve others in their leadership journey. But why? I guess that I just felt like I just didn’t have anything original left to write about. But why? Why?

Where did I lose my drive? Or was that I lost my road map? Or was it the keys that I couldn’t, or wouldn’t go locate?

I thought about this. I spent some time contemplating what it is like to be in this Leadership Dead Zone. I spent enough time thinking about it to realize that sometimes it could just be that one can simply just over-think situations.

I was over-thinking what to write about. I suffered from analysis paralysis. I was lost in a fog.

Sometimes, we as leaders procrastinate, or over-think what our next big bold earth-shaking move might be. As leaders, sometimes we get caught up with what the next fancy strategy should be, or what could be the next big move for the group, company or even our careers. We get caught thinking too much in that ineffective dead-zone.

When leaders are really in their element, when they are in the “leadership zone,” I don’t think they are concerned about any of these things that can distract them from their targeted mission. When we are in the zone we are being natural and doing what we do best; leading.

So, if you find yourself over-thinking a certain situation, maybe it is time to just start moving.  I think that you will find as you get going that you will gain momentum and that you will find yourself getting in that zone of influence and better results.  Don’t worry about whether you actually find yourself in the zone or not, that is not important.  What is important is that you start moving and getting your organization and people moving. Employees hate an organization that seems stagnant and lacks direction. I  believe they hate it even more when they ask a question about the organization’s future or direction and are told “We are working on that…”

The One Week Test

Here is a rule of thumb to help you know whether you are over-thinking something: If you are taking more than one week of time to get all the input and do all the planning, then you might be over-thinking the activity. I have worked on projects that had multi-million dollar impact in Fortune 50 companies, and we would never take more than a week to form an initial hypothesis and get going.  Sure, we would test it out from there and adjust as we went along but you are moving forward and that is half the battle.

What do you do to ensure that you are not over-thinking something?  How do you involve your employees when it comes to strategic or organization changes? Have you ever been in the Leadership Dead Zone? How did you recognize your predicament? How did you bet back into the real Leadership Zone?

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Scott Archibald is a Managing Director at Bender Consulting.
You can follow Scott on
Twitter at http://twitter.com/Scott_Archibald

Image Sources: solomonprojects.com, divinecaroline.com

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4 responses to “Leadership Dead Zone

  1. Great reminders Scott, thanks for the good read. And, thank you for your transparency and for taking up the CALL this week!

    I like the One Week Challenge. Certainly for outline, strategy and hypothesis agreed it doesn’t take more than a week on a great idea. My only hook or when I want to press the pause button is the gathering input from the team element. Our teams move at different rates of speed. For success of any good idea, you must have their support. That may take time.

    That said, it doesn’t mean your idea stops moving forward. It just means that a good communication plan/strategy to engage the team is key to it’s success. We as leaders must remember, not everyone gets excited about the next bright shiny object we have in our offices.

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  2. Yes, totally agree Tammy. The one week challenge is really designed to keep you moving. Input from other teams is essential, more so in some environments than others, but I have also seen this handcuff activities. As always, it’s a balancing act. Good luck!

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  3. Pingback: Leadership Dead Zone « Bender Blog: From the Front Lines·

  4. Enjoyed your post. I am familiar with the analysis paralysis of which you wrote having suffered from the same myself on more than one occasion. I agree that there is a tendency to over-think and over-analyze projects and proposals up-front, forgetting that we retain the ability to adjust and modify as we begin to implement our plan of action. Plans are useful to a point but my experience has shown that strict adherence to plans can be as detrimental as no plan at all. Our vision becomes narrow as we focus on the tasks required to implement the plan whereby we often fail to see or recognizer other opportunities that present themselves. Often these “adjusted” opportunities provide better results than our original conception. I have also found that we achieve better results when our efforts surround moving towards some thing, rather than away from some thing that we are trying to avoid. Thanks for the post!

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