10 Signs You Are Not Handling Prosperity Well

Have you ever wondered why some people and teams perform at a high level for only a brief period of time?  You watch them grow and develop until someone ultimately says those haunting words “Wait until next year.”  “Next year” then comes and their performance returns to a level of mediocrity.

Teams like the Cincinnati Bengals and the Houston Texans fit this description and are said to be “unable to handle prosperity”.  As leaders we need to be able to identify the warning signs that reduce our performance back to a previous level of mediocrity.  Read the following list and see if any of these items apply to you.

  1. What Made You Successful Will Not Keep You Successful – Our world is ever-changing.  The market changes.  Our competition sees what made us successful and soon begins copying those elements.  Only continual learners remain leaders in their industry.   
  2. Complacency – Our success merely establishes a new baseline of performance.  When we think “we have arrived” we naturally let off the gas which initiates the process of regression.  We confuse the finish line with the starting line.
  3. Fundamentals Are Taken For Granted – The longest distance between two points is a shortcut.  Mistakes are made because we neglect the “little things”. 
  4. Character – Many leaders have natural talent that takes them places where their character cannot sustain them.
  5. The Peter Principle – This states that people are promoted to their level of incompetence.  What is unique about this concept is often the person promoted does not know their lack of skill and ability until they get there.  What is gut wrenching is when you have a loyal team member who helped make the team successful but does not possess the skill the organization now needs.  Hard decisions must be made.
  6. Greed – Many leaders have a scarcity mindset that is revealed with success.  They have a “window of opportunity” that must be taken advantage of.  At this point, personal success becomes more important than team success.
  7. Pressure – At every new level there are new devils.  More is expected and required of us.  When the pressure increases it comes with its evil twin which I will discuss next.
  8. Dysfunction – As relational dynamics are tested, some determine “it isn’t worth it anymore”.   You begin to hear the phrase “I don’t have to put up with this”.  Interestingly enough, they are right and explore other options. 
  9. Depth – As teams become successful and/or dysfunction sets in, opportunities become available and doors are opened.  Team members subsequently move on and the team’s depth is tested.
  10. Your Inner Circle – Even if you have the skill, character and capacity to avoid the previous nine issues, others on your team may not.

So I ask the burning question – Are you handling prosperity well?

If you are part of a team that is starting to experience success, you must wrestle with these issues.  The question is not whether you were part of a successful past.  The question is whether you are going to part of a successful future.   

Readers, how do you feel about these thoughts?

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About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.

7 Responses to “10 Signs You Are Not Handling Prosperity Well”

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