Superpower #11: Regularly Reviewing and Renewing Useful Practices

There’s a popular saying that gets tossed about in personal and professional spaces — if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

While it sounds catchy, the idea of the saying seems to suggest that if a thing works, we needn’t worry about it. However, many a person has found out the hard way what happens when they don’t check the fluids in their vehicle. Even an electric car has to be recharged eventually: it was running fine but once the charge was gone, it stops.

I once had a wonderful little (gas-powered) vehicle. I loved it and thought I was good with maintenance upkeep. I followed the guidelines for oil changes, didn’t let it run too close to empty with fuel, and checked the tires often. However, it let me down one day while I was on a highway.

It wasn’t the car that let me down but I let the car down: I never paid attention to other engine elements and the timing belt failed.

R-Leaders recognize the importance of reevaluation. They do not take the if it ain’t broke path, because they recognize everything breaks eventually. More importantly, they don’t just kick the organizational tires but pop the hood often.

What Does Regular Organizational Maintenance Look Like?

It is vital to review organizational processes to ensure things are working and in order. Every organization, from single-owner-employee businesses to multinational conglomerates have a strategic plan. Even if that plan isn’t in writing, it exists in the mind of the leader.

And if there is no plan, the business is going to run into bigger problems!

However, on a regular basis, the R-Leader is thinking about current and next steps. They may not be the one responsible for things like overall succession planning, but they are mindful of employee turnover (lateral and vertical moves, exits, new hires) as well as their own longevity in the position and organization.

They examine processes to determine of they still work in the same ways.

Consider the changes that many organizations had to make because of the pandemic. Companies that weren’t prepared to pivot immediately (to virtual work for team members, for example, or different ways of connecting to customers) had challenges. Some of those businesses haven’t made it back to market since the initial shut-down period more than two years ago.

Even for organizations that were prepared to go to an entirely virtual existence ran into challenges, particularly as fuel and product prices increased. That created an overall increase in cost from production to delivery, elevated shelf prices, and inventory limitations.

Yet without a pandemic, there were other negative impacts during the period, most notably to the supply chain. In 2021, the Ever Given, a container ship, ended up blocking the Suez Canal for six days, creating a massive bottleneck. Then, in March 2022, the Ever Forward (sister ship to the Ever Given) got stuck in the Chesapeake Bay, creating another series of shipping delays.

R-Leaders work hard to combat these challenges, most of which are out of their control, by regularly assessing practices and changing those that no longer add value.

Do you need help, thinking about current practices within your organization? Let’s brainstorm together.

Published by AR Neal

Dr. Andree Robinson-Neal got bit by the writing bug in the 1970s and despite a career in education has never been cured of her penchant for speculative fiction. You can sometimes find her at https://agnubloom.com, where she writes under the name AR Neal, who will hopefully be discovered and have a bunch of her work republished in multiple languages and turned into stage and screenplays. She is a practitioner and the developer of Reconnoiter Leadership. Learn more at https://r-leadership.com.

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