Over the last year, an increasing amount of my time has been spent with organizations experiencing hardship.
While no two situations are ever exactly the same, I run into recurring themes among organizations that are having trouble, most seem to stem from a single source-
Within the failures of leadership I’ve seen there are two primary streams
Failure of Competence
Failure of Character
The worst situations often have a combination of both!
To be clear, it’s not always a blatant failure by the senior leader, though they are often a culprit, there are other leaders in any organization whose character and competence are also crucial to success and when a failure occurs in these ranks it can still be devastating.
There are many ways to end up with a failure of competence or character, but I’d rather spend this time on ways to protect against such failure.
Find a Mentor- A good mentor is a great resource of knowledge and accountability
Seek outside counsel- I am often amazed at the seemingly simple things I can’t see when I’m too close to situations. The same is true for anyone dealing with something day in and day out, seek unbiased counsel, regularly, to help resolve issues and to avoid issues before they get out of hand. You may think your problem is so big and unique that no one knows the answer, but there is likely someone closer than you think who has experience dealing with those very issues.
Build the Board of Directors- A large, involved, independent board of directors can ensure the health and success of an organization more than any individual leader.
If you’re reading this and think that you or your organization could never fall prey to a Failure of competence or character, be careful, almost all the crises I’ve stepped into have been preceded by a period of increasing pride.