As I look back on my life I have found this to be true, every new opportunity has started with an ending. In Necessary Endings, Henry Cloud reminds us how it is normal and important to have endings. I would encourage everyone to read this book, especially those of us who struggle with endings, whether that be relational or organizational. It seems so obvious if not at the same time awkward and emotional to realize that endings are an important part of life.
Here are some of the important things that I gleaned while reading this book.
Pruning: Leaders have to have a good picture of what we want the outcome to look like and prune toward that. Endings are an important part of the pruning process of leadership. You always have to choose between good and best. This will mean that there are times that a leader will need to give up hoping in what they are currently trying to do. You will need to define success and learn how to measure that.
Identify what it is that is keeping you stuck.
Embrace hopelessness: You have to get in touch with reality . . what is not working and what will not magically begin working (page 74). In other words you have to get hopeless about what is not going to work.
The Three Kinds of People: I think I read this chapter a few times. There are wise people, people who own their performance, listen to feedback and make adjustments. There are foolish people, people who adjust the truth so that they don’t have to anything different. They adjust the truth so that they don’t have to adjust to it (page 133). While the fool can be the smartest or most gifted in the room but they are quick to shift blame, minimize, rationalize, excuse, get angry, victimize, and see the world as made up of good guys and bad guys. There are also evil people. You can read the book to find out about evil people. The beauty of this chapter was in identifying how to respond to each of these types of people. When working with wise people, talking helps. When working with foolish people stop talking about the problem and have a different kind of conversation. The new problem to talk about with the foolish person is that talking doesn’t help (page 137). With the evil person, well you will just have to read the book.
Take Inventory of What is Depleting Your Resources: “If you are doing something that is using you or your resources in a way that is depleting you or damaging you, you can’t keep it going. The reason? You are not just getting tired; you or your resource is getting depleted. You or your resource is being cannibalized. In short: you will run out” (page 221). For me, I had to consider the following question – “Are you letting your strengths fall into disuse in a way that is not sustainable?” (page 225).
This is a great book. I would put this near the top of your personal and organizational leadership reading list. Get it and read it, now!