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When New Gets in the Way

Often, leaders ask us to present “something new”, something that an audience hasn’t heard before, something that is on the cutting edge.  And, those are always great,  meaningful assignments.  We love these “new” topics because we’re creative and innovative and they can be more fun than doing a program that we’ve done many times before.

However, I believe that there are many times that “new” gets in the way of the change that leaders are trying to lead.  

When we assess organizations, we often find that the search for “new” can compete with discipline and accountability within the organization. 

An example of an organization in which “new” gets in the way of success is one that rolls out new programs, initiatives, policies, etc. rather than assessing what worked, what didn’t and why what didn’t work didn’t work, learning from it and trying to make it stick before adding too much new to the mix.  Another example is when a leader is rolling out the “business book du jour” before anyone in the organization can tell you what the previous one was about and what they are expected to do with it.

It’s important to recognize that no matter how fast our world is turning, some things (many of the basics/fundamentals) take a certain amount of time.  And, no matter what you try to do to expedite the process, you’re going to have to invest that time somewhere – up front, in the middle, at the end or over and over again until you get it right – there are no shortcuts.

It’s the time of year when you reflect on where you, your teams and your organization are today and where you’d like to be a year from now. 

As you plan your year-end retreats and you develop your plans for next year, be mindful of the fact that new can get in the way.  Work with your teams to identify the basic, non-negotiable skills (ex: effective meetings, teaming, service, etc.)that would have exponential ROI for you if you hunkered down and got it right each and every time vs. moving on to the next new trend.

><(("> Melissa Laughon

Melissa is a ><(("> Team Member at Catch Your Limit, a management consulting firm with offices in Tallahassee, Florida and Richmond, Virginia. To learn more, visit

Posted in Leadership, Organizational Culture, Strategic Planning, Teaming.

One Comment

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  1. Tom Laughon says

    Right on, Melissa! The only thing worse than new, new, new, is nothing, nothing, nothing. It is that time of the year to gather the troops, get a sense of where you are, where you need to go and make a plan on how to get there. Before you click to hide my call to action, ask yourself if you have simply been flying on a wing and a prayer or do you and everyone in your organization know exactly where you are going and what it will take from each of you to get there? As Melissa says, new is getting old. What we need is a good old fashioned plan that has input, buy-in and committment from all involved. And then … just do it!

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