Partner of ActionCOACH Spain, mentoring and business consulting expert.
In a follow-up to “The Five Dangerous Modes Leaders Assume in Business Management,” today I kick off part two of my five-part series that explores each of these dangerous leadership modes in depth. Last time, we explored how to combat Fireman Mode, and now we will explore the ways in which Inertia Mode can create inefficiency and chaos within a company — and how to avoid it.
So, what is Inertia Mode? To be inert is defined as “having no inherent power of action, motion, or resistance.” In other words, it’s a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged.
In my experience, Inertia Mode transpires when companies employ methods that are far from efficient. More worrying, even, is when these methods or tasks depend on highly qualified people, whose talents and skills are being wasted. When you ask a company why this is, the answer is often, “It has always been done this way.” Consequently, it is the very inertia of the business that does not allow leaders to consider new ways of doing things. This prevents innovation and continuous improvement.
The digital revolution combined with the new ways of working imposed by the pandemic are generating exponential changes, and companies need to be on continuous alert. How everything works today and how it is executed must be put into question. I also believe it’s necessary to encourage both internally and externally the search for efficiency and adaptation to the continuous and new market demands. Breaking through the existing inertia should be a top priority for corporate cultures.
I recommend the following actions:
• Incorporate external, independent professionals to the board of directors who can contribute new ideas.
• Consider hiring outside advisors and/or coaches to question the functions and activities of each department. In the process, they can help identify new challenges and new ways of working.
• Implement a program that rewards, with frequency, contributions from employees in relation to innovation in processes, systems or products/services. This can be in the form of a bonus package or other type of reward that cultivates innovation and friendly competition between employees in a way that allows them to increase their productivity and be more efficient.
• Establish workgroups that, through brainstorming, present disruptive ideas to leaders at least once a year for debate and possible incorporation.
• Find time each year to reflect on the future. The only condition? You can’t take into account all that has been done so far. While it can be helpful to think about your past accomplishments, the focus of this meeting should be on the future of the company.
• Introduce external training programs that bring in new ideas that can be put into action.
• Conduct a continuous analysis of the competition and leading companies in the industry to copy and incorporate successful practices.
Continuous improvement should be part of the DNA and culture of the business. This is just as important as any other function executed in the company. In fact, I would argue you could even go as far as create a new department focused on continuous innovation. All of these measures will allow for a continuous process of reflection and adaptation to the changes that are taking place, thereby ensuring your company can be more competitive and efficient.