When I was a kid one Christmas I got a Lionel train set from my parents. It was really cool. The locomotive had a smoke stack that actually "smoked" when you put a drop of oil into it. I can still remember the burning oil smell the locomotive would emit as it raced around the tracks. The transformer which governed the speed of the train went all the way up to "90" (I still believe it was in "miles per hour!") and had three rail cars that were all different colors and a caboose. The train set also came with enough track to form a figure-8 that I would push the tracks together using special pins that fit into the ends of the tracks.
As I think about my train set in the context of our lob as leaders, I can't help but ponder how many of us take a "keep the trains running" approach to our careers. The focus of the job isn't about doing something better, faster, or cheaper, it is just about doing the job the same way as it has been done before. Allowing this level of complacency to creep into your job is a dangerous thing. Without a burning desire to improve, get better, and be more competitive you run the risk of becoming obsolete. Go through the phone book today and look for "horse and buggy repair". You won't find it because innovation ensued to create the automobile. Yet many leaders treat their jobs and careers as if they will be there forever and their value will never diminish.
If you're in the mode of "keeping the trains running" with your job then do some serious introspection about how you're going to shake yourself loose of the grip of complacency. If you don't you just may find that your career has just passed you by and you've gone the way of the Do-Do Bird.
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