• Home
  • >
  • Blog
  • >
  • Why Doubling Down in Tough Times Doesn’t Work

Les McKeown's Predictable Success Blog

  • November 9, 2013
  • minute read

Why Doubling Down in Tough Times Doesn’t Work 

Inc Logo
A version of this article first appeared in Inc.com

Listen to Les McKeown read this blog post:

Audio version not yet available – please check back later.

Ever wonder why every month brings another tale of a badly-handled corporate disaster (just some of this year’s haul: Nokia, Siemens, RIM, Zynga, JP Morgan), yet you have to go back to 1982 for the last example of truly outstanding corporate leadership in the face of disaster? 

Well, one reason, of course, is the nature of reporting: good stories don’t sell newspaper inches (or screen pixels), so the icky stuff gets featured much more heavily.

But there is a deeper issue: The glorification of the leader as hero personified.

We live in a 24-hour news cycle which must, in order to not seem like simply a random collection of talking heads, impose a narrative on events.

At the time of writing, we see it most clearly in the reporting of the current election campaign.

Nothing is simply an event, a fact or a statement, instead everything must be parsed as part of an over-arching narrative – who’s up, who’s down, who’s next, who’s out?

The same thing happens in financial reporting. Everything needs to play out as a Greek tragedy, with heroesvillainsvictims and innocent bystanders.

As a result, when a crisis strikes, some unlucky so-and-so gets pushed to the top of the news cycle, and his or her leadership style is placed under the microscope.

And guess what happens?

The besieged leader finds their every move under scrutiny, and, as a direct result, they double up on their instinctive leadership style as a VisionaryOperator or Processor.

Time and again we see Visionary leaders under pressure who take even more risks, resort to even more hyperbole, swing even further for the fences than before.

Or an Operator-leader who becomes more aggressive, more stubborn, more ferocious than previously.

Or a Processor-leader who retreats behind more spreadsheets, more planning, more so-called risk control, and more second-guessing than before the crisis hit.

The answer?

Behind any well-managed crisis you’ll find either a natural Synergist (very rare), self-taught Synergist or, more commonly, a Synergistic team – one which knows that the answer to a crisis is not V-ing, O-ing or P-ing your way through it, but in using the team’s natural VOP strengths in harmony, and with the proper choreography.

The lesson for the rest of us?

When a crisis hits, doubling down on the personal strengths that got you here in the first place won’t fix the problem.

Instead, focus your efforts on building a world-class team – specifically, one that transcends the limitations of any one individual.

What about you - Are You Committed To Building A World-Class Team In Your Organization?

Let Me Know In The Comments Below!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
Success message!
Warning message!
Error message!