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  • Writer's pictureKarthik Lakshminarayanan

Build endurance. Fire and Rehire yourself regularly

Leaders with long tenures in a role or company can fall victim to Organizational Inertia. Past decisions that once bore fruit may no longer serve the group or organization. And since you likely made or endorsed these past decisions, you stand by it and over time, it leads to decay in business performance, and ability to get things done quickly.

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For example, maybe you have a product tailored for the US market while avoiding international expansion or invested in specific technologies. These decisions yielded success but might not align with current market conditions or organizational goals.

Over time, being unaware of what's not working and a resistance to change can hinder progress. There is an urgent need for "fresh" perspectives, which leads to the hiring of external talent.

Consider the case of Intel in the 1980s. Facing the decline of their memory chip business, co-CEOs Andy Grove and Gordon Moore pondered what a new CEO would do. The answer? Exit the memory business. They famously said "Well, let's fire ourselves by metaphorically walking out of the room, then hire ourselves back and make that decision." So they fired and rehired themselves and made the hard call.

Similarly, Andrea Jung, Avon's CEO for 13 years, metaphorically "fired and rehired" herself. She used the past knowledge of the company but had a healthy disregard to past decisions, even if she made them. She would regularly assess her company from a fresh perspective.

So, if you've been in your role for a while, contemplate firing and rehiring yourself monthly or quarterly. If you were hired into the same role today, what would you start, stop and continue doing? Encourage your leadership team to do the same and then invite feedback on the plan. Once there is alignment, persevere and make those changes. If you find you are reversing most decisions, it might point to a broader problem in your decision making process.

It is best for you to overcome your own decisions that are no longer working, rather than have an outsider point those out for you. By firing and rehiring yourself, you keep the thinking fresh and your organization agile for whatever lies ahead.

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