So many leaders never learn their lesson. They see snow and they send their team out to shovel. They see a blizzard and they give their team more shovels. They see an avalanche and realize they don’t have a crisis plan and see the team get swallowed up by the catastrophe. Once the people dig out, he gives them a shovel to clean up the mess. The lucky ones escape to warmer climates where it doesn’t snow.

Short sighted leadership ultimately causes the crisis because they have not put on their ski goggles to see what the real issue is.

Recently I dropped into a client who had a crisis and we’re solving the issue to get them back on track. They’ve even hired a top talent who will help them evolve their quality systems so they don’t have the same issue again. When they shared they hired this talent, I said I guess I’ll be handing over the reigns shortly. To this, they said “No”, and wanted me to stay for at least 2 more months. They saw the value in setting up a strong foundation and setting the next leader up for success. I’m grateful that they find value in my work and avoid a crisis again.

They could have been short sighted and cut my services and fees right away. However, these leaders knew that in order to avoid another crisis, they needed to assure a smooth transition; giving the new leader all the tools they needed to avoid the avalanche.

Given I’ve seen the pattern over and over and over again that leaders only fix symptoms or wait too long to ask for help, here are my best tips to avoid causing the leadership avalanche:

  • Step back and look at the landscape; if you see the same issues happening over and over again, what are the conditions that exist that enable the same issues to happen? That’s your job to ask those questions and be able to face harsh reality. Sometimes you or your predecessor set up the conditions to exist.
  • Assess if you have the capability or capacity to address the conditions that exist for repeat issues. This takes courage to accept the reality, it might not exist within your environment. Be the leader that asks for help sooner before it’s too late. Be the leader your team needs you to be.
  • If a crisis is looming, the cost of the clean up is far more extensive than the short sighted cost containment of doing nothing. What legacy do you want to leave? If you’re struggling with making the best decision, find someone to talk through the challenge.

For me, I’m excited that recently a few people in and outside my community have found me and reached out to use my services or start with a conversation.

These people see the rough conditions and want to avoid a crisis for which we’ve started to have conversations where I try to impart some immediate value.

If you are seeing the avalanche coming, are you giving your people more shovels or are you going to be the leader who helps them to avoid the avalanche all together? Failure to do anything, you become the Avalanche Leader and leave your legacy that people remember. I don’t want that for you. Let’s talk. If someone you know would benefit from this article, please share it so we can help others.

For more insights, please listen to my podcast airing on 2/23/24 and view the video so you see how I really feel about this topic!.

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Be well-Deb