When we become too familiar with people, places or spiritual beliefs, we can miss a fresh anointing.

It’s not as important to find Nemo as it is to find normal. We may even find a new normal and jump in that box for a season. We quickly develop routines that soon become ruts. We don’t want to be labeled as creatures of habit; yet we tend to replace one habit with another.

I tried an experiment one semester when I taught Consumer Behavior. The class is designed to help students understand why consumers buy things and why they don’t.

One day I told my class that many of our purchases are habitual re-buys. We buy stuff because we have always bought that stuff. Brands are developed out of a repeated habit.

The experiment was simple. I told the students they were creatures of habit. They denied being habitual and pushed back, of course.

I then asked them why they were sitting in the same seats as they did on the first day of class. I didn’t assign seats.

The next class period, the students were jumbled and they proved their point. But within five classes every student had settled into a new normal seat.

We seek familiarity and want to make new things familiar as soon as possible. Leaders often become familiar with their teams and fail to fully develop the potential of each individual. Leaders who think they know how their team will respond or not respond has become too familiar.

A prophet is not known in his own town.

Leaders are often surprised when a team member moves on to a new place and performs with excellence in new positions. Of course, a weak leader will only blame the former employee, “he sure didn’t do that when he worked for us.”

Workers plateau because a leader becomes familiar with individuals and draws conclusions about the potential of each individual.

Ask these questions today: “What can you do that I don’t know about? How can I enrich your job?”

And try this today. Assign each team member something new to do that they never have done. And expect them to excel.

Familiarity is a breeding ground for doing what we’ve always done.

Leaders are custodians of potential.

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