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Leadership can be like Jenga. If you remove the right piece, it can provide stability and balance. However, if the wrong piece is eliminated the whole stack can come crashing down. How do you know which piece to leave and which piece to eliminate? How do you determine the right timing? When do you restack the pieces instead of removing them all together? As leaders wisdom and discretion are crucial in these strategic decisions. The implications can be significant, and the ripple effect has the potential to impact individuals, teams, and the entire organization.

Let’s call it like it is. Sometimes people are a terrible fit for the position they are in. Usually this results in personal dissatisfaction for the individual, a team of people that experience regular frustration, internal strife, untapped potential, and overall dysfunction. Sometimes leaders don’t want to look like the bad guy for repositioning or firing someone. Sometimes leaders minimize the negative impact of leaving things as they are. Frankly, sometimes it’s simply a matter of conserving energy and choosing convenience. 

As much as it might cause disruption to rearrange, remove, eliminate, and restack, there is also cost involved in leaving things as they are. What is the cost of not taking necessary action? Not only are you fueling the cycle of dysfunction, but you are also setting a low standard of excellence for your team. What does it mean to exemplify courage in this situation? It takes straight up, raw courage to do the right thing when it’s hard. It requires bravery to act knowing it might cause you to lose popularity. When there is guaranteed backlash from action taken, it demands great levels of integrity and strength. 

In order to step into the next level of extraordinary, sometimes it requires pruning and uprooting. It can absolutely be uncomfortable at times. However, the cost of not taking action can be far greater for your reputation as a leader, for your team, and for the success of the organization as a whole. These decisions are not always performance-based; at times, it comes down to recognizing that one’s values are misaligned with the values of the team.  If action is required to step into the next level of extraordinary, do so with honesty, wisdom, and thoughtfulness. No one should walk away wondering why they were repositioned or what happened.

How is your Jenga stack looking? How could your stack gain stability and balance for the long haul? In order to grow and step into the next level of extraordinary, are there changes that need to happen?

I challenge you this week to consider these important questions. Happy Jenga stacking.