While we celebrated President’s Day on Monday, the anniversary of George Washington’s birth is actually today (born February 22, 1732). Washington is a man who understood the importance of stepping aside (see dot 2442) and did so with grace after two terms. He could have easily retained the position and power for many more years but realized the value of transitioning to another.
Washington also understood life cycles of organizations and knew himself well enough to realize that he was best suited to lead in the developmental stage of the country. Organizations all rotate through various stages – startup, growth, maturity, aging – and matching your leadership strengths with the appropriate time in the organization’s cycle allows for peak effectiveness.
Maybe you should become involved in a new venture where you would find much ambiguity and creation. Or perhaps you are better suited for an organization that comes with some structure but has a focus on change vs. an organization that is established and functions with a fair amount of policy and routine.
Life cycles may not be top of mind when you are selecting a committee assignment or new position, but alignment with them will greatly influence your happiness and success. Follow the lead of George Washington and reflect on when it is best to say “yes” and also when it’s time to say “no”.