Why Everyone Won't Finish With You


John Maxwell says in his book Leadership Gold that:

"Those who start the journey with you seldom finish with you."

I have found this to be true, not only in my own leadership, but also true in the lives of hundreds of leaders I have coached over the years. The question is why is this true? Today, I I’ll give you four reasons why everyone won't finish with you:

Sometimes Skills Change.

As the organization grows, the skill set needed in a given position can change dramatically. Sometimes a person on the team’s skill set will no longer fit the skills needed for a given position. The skill set required to be a Worship Pastor in a church of 100 is completely different than the skill set required in church of 10,000. The skill set of a Facility Director that manages 500 sq feet of space and one that manages 50,000 sq ft of space is also drastically different! Some team member will be able to make these adjustments. Many will not. The three things we owe every member on our team is grace, honesty, and proper placement. All of this is one reason why it requires courage to lead!

Sometimes Needs Change.

Sometimes the needs change in an organization. An organization will need to shift what’s important in a given season. Priorities change both internally and externally, and an organization will often recognize that what was once very important to the organization is no longer necessary.  Every organization is ultimately responsible to steward its resources for the collective benefit of it shareholders, donors, or board, or owners. The organization has a fiduciary responsibility to place the needs of the whole over the needs of one. This is a tough pill to swallow, but this is another reason why it requires courage to lead!

Sometimes People Change.

Passions and desires can in fact change over time. Sometimes what once energized someone, now drains them. Sometime God taps people on the shoulder and calls them to another field of service. Relationships change. Someone feels entitled. Chemistry wanes. Sometimes people don’t respond well to previous changes in the organization. Sometimes people even feel hurt or demoted as job descriptions and organizational charts change. Over time, things can become awkward, perhaps even toxic with certain members of the team. As leaders we often create culture by what we tolerate. Sometimes people change. However, we can’t allow one or more disgruntled or unhealthy employees become “wet blankets” or even worse, vision hijackers! We must act.  This is yet another reason why it requires courage to lead!

Sometimes People Won’t Change.

The key to everything with a potential long term team member is teachability. If they are willing to listen to coaching and take responsibility to grow or change over time, and demonstrate a capacity to do so, they have the most ability to make it for the long run. If they can accept change and value the goal more than the role, they have long term potential! However, if they can’t change and grow, or refuse to change or grow, it is the leader’s responsibility to release them so that the entire organization does not hit a wall. I have never had a leader say to me: "Shawn, I probably released them too early." I have had hundreds of leaders say to me: "Shawn, I put off that decision for too long, and everyone has paid a price for it." So guess what I am going to say next? It requires courage to lead!