Burn Your Crutches

work crutches

My father recently went through knee replacement surgery. It’s a pretty standard procedure, but involved a lot of cutting of muscle tissue and ligaments. He has to undergo a few months of physical therapy and during that process is understandably using a combination of walkers, canes and crutches.

The crutches are his least favorite because they hurt under his arms and don’t let him move around as smoothly as he’d prefer. Ideally, he’ll get to a point where none of the assists are necessary, but in this transition, he is doing what is necessary to heal and move forward.

Business is Painful

Adding on new internal protocols and systems is a little bit like undergoing surgery. It can be a little bit scary, never sure if everything will go off without a hitch or if something weird will sneak in and muck up the works. A lot of ligaments and tendons that have kept your organization in place for a long time might get strained or even cut and expected to grow back over time and a lot of it will be painful.

Once you’ve made the transition, you’ll be in a period of recovery and rehabilitation and that’s perfectly normal. You’ll cling to a lot of your old methods and systems and use them to help encourage the transition to the newer systems. It’s only natural, but don’t get too comfortable with your transition supports, they may just hold you back past a certain threshold.

Crutch Rocket

You may think relying on outdated protocols and silo-ed responsibilities makes things easier during the recovery months, and the truth is, they probably do, but after a certain period of time, they start to hold you back more than allow you to move forward.

I usually say that the period between 5 and 7 months after the transition and training times is when those crutches need to be relinquished. By then, you should have eased off enough from some of the unnecessary old ways to feel comfortable in the new, hybrid systems and your employees should feel the same.

The problem with relying on crutches too long is that the rate of reliance grows exponentially past that 5-7 month mark. If you haven’t burned your crutches by then, you start to become reliant on them faster than you’re learning to grow under the new, healed and strengthened systems.

In other words, you quickly start doing more damage than help.

So, what crutches are you still relying on that are past their due? What things, meant to help during a time of transition, are actually holding you back from being the mobile, fast company you need to be?

Because, once they’ve been identified, it’s so much easier to watch them burn.


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