Rhythm busters sabotage your momentum and hold you back explains Doug Dickerson

Ask any artist, poet, or musician and they will talk to you of the importance of rhythm. The same goes for athletes. Getting into and establishing a rhythm is essential to success.

Unknowingly, however, many people are sabotaging their own success in leadership or in their organizations due to common rhythm busters. These are actions or behaviors that if left unchecked can disrupt the rhythm you need to sustain your momentum.

Think for a moment about the patterns and practices in your organization that work. The ones that create momentum and drive success. List them. Now picture what your organization would look like without them. What if that list was removed from your playbook, not by outside forces, but by self-inflicted wounds?

There are plenty of rhythm busters that can sabotage your momentum and hold you back. These four are ones you need to identify and tackle today:

Turf wars

Nothing will kill the momentum of your organization any faster than territorial turf wars. It fosters distrust within your team and undermines your goals and mission.

Not understanding the destructive force of turf wars will render a leader ineffective in moving his or her organization forward. Allowed to continue, it won’t matter. The organization will crumble under the weight of its own arrogance.

Patrick Lencioni, in his acclaimed book, Silos, Politics and Turf Wars, writes, “There is perhaps no greater cause of exasperation – not to mention turnover – than employees having to fight with people in their own organization. Understandably and inevitably, this bleeds over into their personal lives, affecting family and friends in profound ways”.

Turf wars will disrupt the rhythm of your leadership and organizational life. It’s time to put a stop to it.

Chasing the urgent, forsaking the important

Commonly referred to as “the tyranny of the urgent”, this behavior will always disrupt the rhythm of your organization. Study the patterns of almost any successful organization or leader and you will see this clear distinction – knowing what is urgent and what is important.

The urgent bends toward pesky interruptions, phone calls, text messages, “need this right away” distractions that take team members away from the priorities that matter to tend to things that can wait. Unless you understand the difference between the urgent and the important you will always fight this battle with little success. Don’t let the urgent disrupt the rhythm of important.

Complacent attitudes

One of the dangers of a well-oiled machine is the belief that it runs by itself. If not careful, members on your team can settle into an attitude of believing that success is automatic if they keep doing the same things over time. While there is much to be said for regular patterns that work, it’s never a good idea to settle into a complacent mindset and take success for granted.

Leaders must always be on guard against anything that would disrupt organizational rhythms. Be it poor attitudes, complacent mindsets, or dated thinking. As Pat Riley said, “When a great team loses through complacency, it will constantly search for a new and more intricate explanation to explain away defeat”.  Don’t allow complacent attitudes to disrupt your rhythm.

Mistaking movement for progress

Mistaking movement for progress is the byproduct of complacent attitudes. This mindset lulls your people into believing that as long as the team is moving then all is well. But not all movement is progress.  And smart leaders will recognize this.

As a leader, you must have keen eyes to see whether you are moving in the direction of your goals and vision. You must have ears to the ground to filter thru the noise of those, who despite their best intentions, may be giving bad advice.

Too much is at stake for you as a leader and for the direction of your organization to allow your rhythm to be derailed. Rhythm busters are a constant threat. You must be diligent and stop them before they stop you.

The way is long if one follows precepts, but short if one follows patterns

Doug Dickerson is a certified Maxwell Leadership Speaker, Trainer, and Coach. He resides with his wife in the beautiful Lowcountry of South Carolina, USA. He and his wife, Alicia, are the owners of The Success Center – a full-service tutoring center for ... (Read More)

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