There are websites, books, blogs and talk shows devoted to defining shark jumping moments, and the commonality in them all is acknowledging that the pinnacle of “whatever” has been reached, a specific event marks that occasion (Fonzie jumping a shark on water skis, Happy Days, 5th season) and no amount of gimmick, ideas, or hard work will stop the evolution of the decline.
Whatever your shark-jumping event is, it has happened and you need to lead your team through it and on to the next new venture or spin off. Nobody said this would be easy.... and it’s not, no matter how many times you go through it.
So put your big girl/boy leadership pants on and lead your team through it.
· DO acknowledge that the shark has been jumped – this allows your team to move on
· DON’T minimize the effect this will have on you and your team members.
· DO manage your operations to keep up high standards of product/work your clients and organization expect.
· DON’T give in to letting things slide. As the leader this is dangerous and sets the pace and direction for the team.
· DO acknowledge the change in engagement levels that will come with uncertainty, fear and anger that are part of the decline of “where we are” and “what will happen to ME” in your team members.
· DON’T underestimate the effect your mindset towards change will have on your team and their engagement levels. You have to keep your uncertainty in check, too.
· DO communicate. Communicate with your team and your leadership group. You all jumped the shark together and now take next steps together to manage the devolution with communication and transparency at the forefront.
· DON’T give up and walk away. As a leader be accountable. Take pride in doing the best you can for and with your team. This is a moment where you can and should be a difference maker.
Once the shark has been jumped and you and your team need to move on to the next episode or adventure, remember that it doesn’t diminish the episodes and work that came before. Embrace those moments and build on them for you and your team. Fonzie lives on in all his greatness.....the best one ever........happy days!