How to Avoid Crash Diet Leadership

I came across a great quote in one of my Leadership Promises daily devotionals from last week:

“Everyone is looking for a quick fix, but what they really need is fitness. People who look for fixes stop doing what’s right when pressure is relieved. People who pursue fitness do what they should no matter what the circumstances are.” – Kevin Myers

Isn’t he right? It’s like the weekend athlete who gets hurt because they treat fitness like an event or the crash dieter who consumes nothing but liquids for a week in order to fit into that new pair of pants.

Of course, we do the same thing in business. When we get busy and caught up in the day-to-day demands we begin looking for quick fixes at work, such as:

  • Fast hires to fill an immediate need
  • Reactionary changes to structure and strategy
  • “Flavor of the month” themes, programs, or product lines that are gone as quickly as they were introduced

When we are focused on quick fixes, business successes may come in quick bursts, but there is no proactive planning or long-term sustainability plan. We make decisions based on the present circumstances without putting much thought into the future impact. The impact our quick fixes do have on our people is not good: they cannot predict how we make decisions, the decisions we do make are questioned, and the new initiatives we introduce aren’t taken seriously.

Here are five ways you can improve your fitness as a leader:

  • Make learning and growth a habit, not a “one and done” event. This applies to leaders at ALL levels.
  • Be consistent in your decision making.
  • Hire based on where you want to be in the future, not on an immediate, short-term need.
  • Lead others toward your steady vision, but flex to the conditions. Be able to adjust without making dramatic (and unnecessary) course changes.
  • Follow through with what you start

When we’re focused on fitness, we are preparing, learning, and growing so that we can fix better. If we want to develop fit teams, fit departments, and fit organizations built for the long-term, we must focus on being fit leaders.

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