Nov 16 2021| Leadership | leaders
by Phil Eyre Leaders' Founder
In Phil Eyre’s recent Business Brief article, he encourages us to stop and question whether certain opportunities are a distraction and wasting our time and/or money. Or are they a mission, an opportunity that would help the company thrive?
These are the questions that every effective leader grapples with consciously throughout their leadership career. We encounter multiple opportunities to apply our precious resources of time, money and energy. Choosing the right ones, those that serve our organisation’s mission, is essential to ensure sustained brilliance - and enjoyment - in our work.
Leaders who fail to encompass this idea often dilute the success of their company, spread resources too thinly, engage in value-destroying transactions and take on customers, and colleagues, who eventually depart unhappy.
‘Mission creep’ has its roots in military language, describing a gradual shift in the course of a military campaign, resulting in an unplanned long-term commitment. It’s become common parlance for any organisation that engages in activity that doesn’t serve the purpose of the company; a distraction. Distractions can be seductive, especially for impatient leaders, yet they are too often destructive.
There is no organisation in the world that can excel at being all things to all people. We can be good, perhaps, but not phenomenal. To believe otherwise is nothing short of hubris. This is not to reject innovation, far from it. Innovation that serves mission is essential and extremely valuable. For example, look no further than John Lewis & Partners, shifting into providing rental accommodation to help address a national housing crisis as part of fulfilling its ‘social purpose’.
Here are some examples of distractions that have arisen with our clients in recent months. Do any ring true for you?
For some other people, these might have served ‘mission’; for our clients, these were each distractions.
How can we better address the mission-or-distraction conundrum? Here follow three practical suggestions: