The Leadership Lie That’s Holding You (& Your Company) Back [872 words]

Do you spend time on social media, in free webinars, or listening to motivational speakers? If so, you’ve probably heard a particularly disastrous leadership lie. Don’t get me wrong. I know why coaches and consultants repeat this lie. They’re trying to shake us out of our complacency, get us thinking in a new direction, and invest time and money into solutions that will ultimately save us from ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with these motivations. The problem with this particular leadership lie, though, is that it lets comfortable people off the hook.

Everything Has Changed…

Before I tell you what the lie is, let’s indulge in a quick thought experiment. Jot down three quick answers to this question:

Name something that has changed about your company in the last five years.

Your answers might include:

External Factors

  • What We Sell: The products and services your company offers have probably changed to meet the expectations of customers. You’ve probably even the methods you use to research these trends.
  • Who We Serve: Your customers themselves may have changed. Perhaps you’re in new markets, or maybe the demographics of your target market have shifted.
  • How We Market: Brands are increasingly leveraging social media strategies to reach new audiences.
  • Who We Compete Against: With online order systems and improved logistics, even traditionally local businesses may now face global competition.
  • How We Deliver: Digital subscriptions have replaced tangible products. Even many services can be delivered via Zoom or Teams, rather than in-person.
  • Our Vendors & Suppliers: Global logistics have expanded our pool of suppliers. Disruptions to global supply chains have forced some companies to diversify locally. Clients and customers may demand that we leverage diverse-owned and small businesses to comply with their strategic initiatives.

Internal Factors

  • How We Communicate: Smartphones are ubiquitous, but the last thing we use them for is making a phone call! DMs, Slack and Discord channels, live video calls, and social media have changed the way we communicate with each other.
  • Where We Work: Office work used to require…an office. Now many of us can work remotely. In the last two years especially, working from home itself became a misnomer. Digital nomads can log in and produce results from nearly anywhere in the world.
  • The Jobs We Post: Social Media Manager, Data Scientist, Python Developer, Virtual Assistant. These jobs didn’t exist a few short years ago. Some have gone away, and others have held steady.
  • Who and How We Hire: Demographic shifts, global talent markets, and remote work have changed our talent pool. Workforce development efforts have expanded beyond four-year degree programs and traditional trade schools to include community-based boot camps, online certifications, and professional incubators. Recruiting looks different, especially as gig work increases and unemployment rates plummet.
  • How We Invest: Investing has become more accessible to more people. Crowdfunding, cryptocurrency, and NFTs are recent examples of how investing has changed.
  • How We Get Work Done: Have you seen internal processes, systems, and software evolve to meet the new demands of your workplace? If you’ve heard the words “digital transformation” or “agile methodology,” you can be sure that the way you work is changing.

…Except for Leadership (Probably)

Leaders at every level of your organization need to be on the cutting edge of change. But think about it:

…Which Brings Me to the Leadership Lie

So, this brings me back to the misguided axiom you may have heard from coaches and consultants in your industry:

If you do what you’ve always done,
you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.

—Most Consultants

False! If it’s not a leadership lie, then it’s at least not the whole truth.

You can’t get the same results doing what you used to do. The world has changed! Customers no longer call because they saw your ad in the yellow pages. You won’t get the right job applicants by simply placing an announcement in the local newspaper. And you can’t keep your employees happy and engaged with the same approach to leadership you used a decade ago.

If you do what you’ve always done,
you’re in for a rude awakening!

—Amy C. Waninger, Lead at Any Level

We need to ensure leaders value people in ways they haven’t—and haven’t been trained to—before. Our companies need to invest in leaders at every level to give them the skills they need to do the work today so they can adapt to the demands of tomorrow. Your employees and customers won’t wait forever.

If you’re ready to do something different than you’ve always done, schedule your complimentary strategy session with me at

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Amy C. Waninger Author Bio

Amy C. Waninger is the Founder & CEO of Lead at Any Level, where she improves employee engagement and retention for companies that promote from within. Amy offers assessments, advisory services, and training on essential skills for inclusive leaders. She is the author of eight books. Learn more at

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4 responses to “The Leadership Lie That’s Holding You (& Your Company) Back [872 words]”
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