SmartPules, SmartBrief’s weekly leadership survey for non-scientists, tracks feedback from more than 200,000 business leaders. A results of a recent poll question, “How often do you overcommit?”, should sever as an eye opener for most leaders. Overarchingly, 80% of you leaders suggest they often bite off too much, as can been seen from the breakdown below:

  • 33% - All the time
  • 48% - Sometimes
  • 16% - Not often
  • 3% - Never

Meredith Powell has suggested 5 things that that successful leaders must stop doing. These 5 “mindset changes” should help deliver outcomes vs over commitments.

Stop Thinking This Is Business As Usual: First, stop thinking that this economy is the same. The greatest challenge, is using outdated strategies and techniques. Executives need to understand that business dynamics are constantly changing and require new business strategies/models to succeed.

Stop Being In Charge: Recognize that employees don't want someone to be in charge, they want someone to lead the way. What is the difference? A manager sets all the rules, all decisions and determines the path to success. The leader who leads the way determines the goal, but lets the team members determine the way. 

This is how team members get engaged in the decision making and take ownership. In today's market, the greatest competitive advantage, or better yet only competitive advantage, is the quality of the people on your team. The best talent want to feel part of your company, want their ideas to be heard, and they want their work to create value.

Stop Focusing Inside: Most of the factors that affect business growth are outside the business, such as regulation, consumer confidence, price pressures, technology, competition...etc. Therefore, managers need to pay less attention to what is happening inside the company, but to what is happening outside. The role of the leader is now more similar to the role of the captain. They have an excellent team to take care of the inside, so you can focus on figuring outside factors what will affect your ability to succeed.

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Stop Sticking To the Plan: As a leader, you need to plan, albeit don’t close yourself up to change. When leaders can see and get ahead of opportunities and challenges outside the organization, they can adapt to change and lead the troops through uncertainty. Leadership today means focusing on the fundamentals you want to achieve while remaining flexible enough to adapt and change easily when the market demands it.

Stop Spending Time Alone: In a fast-paced world where change is the only constant, relationships are key to any business's success. Executives need to pave the way and relationships with customers, suppliers, colleagues, and most others above all build up employees. The more executives invest in others, the more they invest in the organization.

According to Rosabeth Moss Kanter, professor at Harvard Business School, “in the face of turbulence and change, culture and values become the major source of continuity and coherence, of renewal and sustainability. Leaders must be institution-builders who imbue the organization with meaning that inspires today and endures tomorrow. They must find an underlying purpose and a strong set of values that serve as a basis for longer-term decisions even in the midst of volatility. They must find the common purpose and universal values that unite highly diverse people while still permitting individual identities to be expressed and enhanced. Indeed, emphasizing purpose and values helps leaders support and facilitate self-organizing networks that can respond quickly to change because they share an understanding of the right thing to do.”