Leadership Habit 47: Never Coast

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Never coast

Leadership Habit 47: Never Coast

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Good things happen to good people. At least, that is what we often hear. When things are already going good there often really isn’t any need to do anything different, right? Cruising, coasting, or joy riding may be a bad metaphorical position for any leader. Good leaders never coast.

When the marketing plan appears to be working, when sales are flowing and the funnel is big, and when all of teams are working together and the product or service is ready to ship, don’t coast. Coasting is one of the easiest traps for any leader to fall into.

Coasting Problems

Here are a few problems for the leader that coasts:

  • False security, no reason for action
  • Stops learning because of the feeling that all necessary knowledge has been attained
  • Listen to the bottom line, not customers
  • Opportunities go unrecognized since they aren’t needed
  • Systems age or don’t keep up leaving a technology gap

Coasting feels good. It is the confirmation bias of those that follow the idea of good things happen to good people. One problem with that thinking is that most business success, at least that which will continue to grow, doesn’t just happen.

Never Coast

Consider some changes for the trouble spots just mentioned.

  • Action is always important. No plan, or a plan without action is a plan to fail. Sooner or later.
  • Becoming smarter is magnetic. It typically creates more business. Besides, learning is a lot more fun than boredom.
  • Nothing will give you a better clue for where you’re headed than honest conversations with customers.
  • You can’t feed a family (for long) on last year’s crop. There is no room for the sustain mindset, new opportunities are always needed.
  • Prepare to change often, new technology leads the way, nothing has advanced in the last century without new technology.

Anyone can coast for a while. Sometimes the coast is long and steady, but eventually the coast will slow to a stop. In some circumstances, you eventually may start to coast backwards.

Never coast, it may feel affordable, but the true cost is always too high.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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April 27, 2018at 8:48 am

A wise geography prof used to say, “For things to remain the same, things must change.”

Said differently, change is teh only constant.

There are seen and unseen forces at work that are pushing and pulling on EVERYTHING in the universe. If we like the way things are now, we must recognize that we got “here” because, in the past, things changed. If we want to preserve what we have, we must identify the change agents that jeopardize “now” and alter them to preserve “now”.

Thank you Carl Seiscio!

    Dennis Gilbert

    April 27, 2018at 10:40 am

    Yes, it is simple actually, but we tend to move to a comfort zone and just want everything to remain the same. Carl must have led an interesting geography class.

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