Overcoming Barriers To Success #succession

Richard Shrapnel's Orienteering Succession blog

Leaders must actively guard against paradigms, bureaucracy, and self-interest taking hold in their business. Otherwise, they can form a major barrier to achieving the level of success that would otherwise be possible.


Active Knowledge Questions:

Have you ever considered where the barriers in your business are? And how those barriers are degrading the performance of your business?


In leadership, we are often so occupied in trying to get everyone focused on what is important and what needs to be done now, that we don’t have time to step away and see what is stopping everyone from working at their best.

However, taking time out to unearth these barriers to success, and removing them, can suddenly release pent-up energy and help you to achieve many goals that have been frustrating you. By way of analogy, rather than having to push through the wall or continually work around it, why not just remove the wall?

‘If you don’t know something can’t be achieved, then you won’t be stopped from doing it. Good people always look for better ways to do things’.– John Forsyth, Dymocks Bookstores.

Barriers to success typically fall into three categories:

  • Paradigms, that is fixed ways of thinking, that crush creativity.
  • Bureaucracy, that is rigid and overwhelming systems and processes, that kills communication and efficiency, and does nothing for effectiveness.
  • Self-interest, putting one’s self first, that removes the reason for anyone trying to excel.

In every business, there exists a competitive engine that determines the level of performance in your business and ultimately sets the ceiling to its success. This engine will always seek to prevent these barriers from forming and remove them if they do take hold. Leaders who focus on this engine are continuously tuning their business for peak performance.

If focusing on your competitive engine is not something you do, then searching out and removing barriers to success must become a regular activity for you as a leader.

In family business succession, as the change of leadership occurs both the exiting and new generation of leaders must be very conscious that they do not reinforce or introduce barriers to success. This is often an outcome of the change and must be guarded against.


Leaders must always take time out to step away from their business and give it a good clean, removing all impediments and barriers, so that it can always perform at its peak.


A final quote to reflect on: ‘No business will always be profitable. No business will last forever. You must recognise when it’s over and move one’.– Gerry Harvey, Harvey Norman.

Next week’s leadership theme: ‘The Roadmap Of Exceptional Leadership’.


An entirely new level of performance.

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All the best in the success of your business,

Richard Shrapnel