When I was getting ready to move from Sydney to New York recently I discovered a collection of keys in my desk drawer. At some point in time I had used these keys. I vaguely remembered some of them from houses or cars I had long since left behind. Others were a complete mystery to me. Then there were the ones still on my keyring that I had needed one day then not the next, as we packed our bags to move overseas.
I’ve come to realise that my leadership strategies are like that too. Like keys, I have developed methods, philosophies, habits, values, priorities and mindsets along my journey that at some time opened doors for me. They solved problems. They unlocked potential. They gave me breakthroughs. They were keys at a time when I needed them.
There is also a relationship between the pace of change in your life and the shelf life of your leadership keys. When little changes around you, keys work for longer. When your world is changing rapidly, keys come and go rapidly. The test is not the age of the key, but its usefulness.
Did I notice them becoming redundant? Rarely.
• So I wonder how many of your leadership “keys” have outlived their usefulness to you and your future?
• What are you carrying around with you that has become a dead weight?
• Are you keeping keys for years, telling yourself that you might remember one day what they were good for?
• How can we make sure we hold onto what is useful and let go of the rest?
Perhaps it’s time to make more room on your keyring.