Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Power Post - Comfort Zones are for Coward-Leaders

"Let's check best practices."
"What is the competition doing?"
"I'd like to study this for a few months first."
"I don't like to rush into change."
"We better be careful or this will get out of control."
"I prefer to stay in my comfort zone."

I'm sorry, stay in your what?  Comfort zone?  What the hell is a comfort zone?  Are you taking a power nap in a recliner; or, are you leading a complex organization in 2011?  Seriously?  SERIOUSLY?  Comfort zones are excuses.  Period.

I don't like excuses.


How many times have you heard these phrases? Do you find it hard to respect the leaders you work with that say these things over and over?  Me too.  (And when I catch myself saying them I absolutely cringe.)  So here's an option for us all - stop saying them.  Coward-leaders strive for mediocrity and comfort.  Working hard to maintain your comfort zone is an exercise in futility.  Stop doing it.

Push yourself to be better.  Push yourself to take on new challenges.  Push yourself out of your comfort zone, and lead.

You're not a coward-leader are you?  (I hope I'm not one either.)

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of


  1. Being aware of the language we use is a good way to monitor our tendency to avoid the work of extending ourselves. Yes, and of course, it is quite natural to revert to a comfort zone--if only to regenerate and recover for the next foray.

    Over the years, one's comfort zone will (hopefully) expand. But there are always new places to go, new uncomfortable feelings to lean into. In HR I wonder if people are still shaking off the old compliance (defensive) culture. It is hard to explore new territory when the group is continuously circling the wagons...

  2. Thanks James. Your circle-the-wagons reference is right on. Too many times I hear both HR and non-HR leaders attempting to justify why certain processes must occur ("don't they know 'it' must be done this way?").

    The reality is we must push ourselves to learn and grow. Getting refreshed is essential, but without forward movement,we simply become stale.

    Many thanks!