How Experienced Leaders Become Stagnant and Mediocre

Repetition isn’t the path to improvement, unless you persistently work to improve.

anyone who can't explain what they're learning moves toward stagnation.jpg.png


The only way to improve is to focus on improvement.

Experience turns to mediocrity when:

  1. You can’t explain what you’re learning. Anyone who can’t explain what they’re learning moves toward stagnation.
  2. You repeat the same behaviors over and over.
  3. You’re always the right.
  4. You never fall short.
  5. You don’t seek feedback.

No time to practice:

The challenge of leadership is you’re always in game mode. There’s not time to practice.

I’m told the secret to golf is consistency. Hold the club the same way. Stand the same way. Swing the same way. Don’t practice while you play.

Successful athletes develop skills before and after the game. But it’s always game time for leaders.

Practice before you play:

Leaders might not be able to practice like golfers or swimmers, but they can visualize performance. Take meetings for example.

  1. Visualize how you show up at the meeting.
  2. Imagine running the meeting. What do you see yourself doing?
  3. Picture how you end the meeting.

Practice at the next level:

Before visualizing performance, focus and clarify goals.

  1. How do I want people to feel in the meeting?
  2. How do I want people to feel about themselves? About others? About me?
  3. How do I want to show up?

Drill down:

Perhaps you’re working to connect with the team before meetings. You’ve been distracted in the past. What new behaviors will you adopt to connect? When? How?


  1. Greeting people as they arrive.
  2. Putting your phone away.
  3. Smiling.
  4. Asking questions about the weekend. (Family, hobbies, or sports teams.)

Seek feedback privately after the meeting:

  1. Explain your goal to connect before the meeting.
  2. What worked?
  3. What could be better?
  4. What suggestions might they offer?

What small aspects of leadership might leaders work to improve? How?

Resource for this post:

Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool