Momentum is the fickle child of progress. It requires careful manipulation and conscientious focus. The act of keen observation that positions our success on a level of performance and continuous improvement. Sustainable momentum is a tactical element of leadership. Have you experienced running downhill and the intense emotion that comes with compelling action? The euphoria of momentum propelling your forward as you learn to balance speed and motion.
Maybe you’ve experienced the counter action while running uphill. The energy and force doubles as you try to gain momentum. Fortunately, for us momentum isn’t an uphill/downhill challenge. It is in fact; a landscape completes with peaks and valleys. Filled with adversity and diversions. The biggest challenge for a leader is directing momentum. More to the point directing and sustaining momentum! Rising to the challenge as a leader while achieving an agenda is just the beginning.
Our story: we’d come out of a company-wide realignment strategy, and I’d been assigned a new role within the organization. Our mission to provide leadership, stability, and growth in a particular segment of our business. An underserved area.
From my limited mindset it was a demotion. In the beginning, I didn’t understand the vision and didn’t embrace the change. One thing I knew for certain. We were not going to allow it to fail! In my minds eye, there were no other alternatives.
As we progressed, we added new teammates with varying degrees of leadership. They had sound tactical practices and new the function of the role in its’ simplest form. But, we had many communication challenges and the team didn’t match the leaders’ vision. My vision. We scaled the walls of momentum and progress was measurable from a metrics perspective. Metrics, didn’t tell the whole story. We were clunky, failing to communicate, and struggled to align with our newly assigned purpose. How do you bring a team of subject matter experts together on mission that requires team alignment? We had to learn how to operate as team to trust to gain momentum. Like any other change, it required many late-night meetings, coaching, and counseling teammates to act as one and to develop into leaders. Our mission was more than a metric of performance, it was essential as we headed in and out of COVID. Our team hit a hill fueled by a series of wins. You know when you have it. You know you have it when that everything seems to be flawless. Like our oil tanker mass being guided to shore. Guided by processes, actions, and core values. It’s the passive energy of forward progress that generates.
The challenge: we were veering on a course of momentum like a landslide taking everything in its path. Riding the wave of influence as it coerced us into believing we had arrived. Then, like most we were faced with talent depletion, rising costs, and stressed overworked teammates. The vision it seemed had changed course again.
As our passion to ride the waves of adversity diminishes, our flame burns low. The illusion of ease takes over and we’re disillusioned. Sometimes we don’t even see the winds of change redirect our focus. 5 practical applications:
1. Build a coalition of people who support the mission.
2. Maintain hyper-focus. Keep everyone focused on the activities necessary.
3. Adjust, adapt, and overcome.
4. Take time to celebrate small, but definable successes.
5. Bonus: keep learning.