Chapter 38Fix the Roof While the Sun Is Shining!

The Challenge

Because prosperity drains urgency, and things naturally wind down rather than up, most leaders won't get serious about finding, developing, or retaining talent, or dealing with deadweight, until something bad happens (the red-ink quarter, an economic downturn, a top performer defects, or some other unforeseen crisis). To strengthen your culture and consistently increase results, you will need to become far more proactive and fix the roof while the sun is shining. And if things have already turned down for you, learn the lessons inherent in your reversal, and resolve to do better going forward.

JFK Was Right

In his 1962 State of the Union Address, John F. Kennedy declared, “The best time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining” (BrainyQuote, n.d.). His philosophy wasn't intended for organizations per se, but it fits quite well, especially during times of abundance.

Remember: Just like in physics, organizational momentum naturally winds down rather than up unless outside energy is applied. You won't plunge downward when you neglect the right disciplines—you'll slope there. Because of this, you often will not realize you are in decline until it's too late.

If you have momentum, it is easier to steer than to restart, so here are three suggested actions you can take to leverage momentum when you have it:

  1. Redefine performance expectations while things are going well. There's no better time to redefine performance ...

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