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Avoid the Moth Effect

Avoid the Moth Effect

Leaders, do you know why it is important that your employees know how YOU fit into the overall strategic plan?

Too often, we leaders fail to clarify for our employees how OUR actions tie into and align with the overall strategic plan. To employees, our actions tend to have, what I call, ‘The Moth Effect.’ Have you ever tried to catch a moth that’s flitting around a light bulb?  There’s absolutely no pattern to its flight path as it bobs and weaves all over the place trying to get to the light. For me, catching it becomes a true and tiring challenge—ultimately, I just want to let it go.

When we, as leaders, project The Moth Effect, our employees and team members see us as unfocused, scattered, and out of control. They see no strategy management, no pattern to our actions and no connection to the overall organizational goals. As they chase after us, trying in vain to follow our ‘lead’ and support our latest priority, they tire. Not surprisingly, through sheer frustration, they ‘let us go.’ They detach from us; they detach from their jobs; and, they detach from the organization. That’s the ultimate in leadership failure. You are not a leader if no one wants to stay connected with you and follow you.

So how do we as the leader keep them engaged, attached, and connected? We need to ensure that the employees know the strategic plan of the whole organization and their department. They need to be clear about their individual part in the plan and what OUR part as the leader will be. Further, when we show employees how we follow the plan, it sets a solid example to them as to the value of strategic planning.

Clarity and alignment in our role, as well as theirs, is vital. Letting employees know what our responsibilities are and then fulfilling them also lets them know that we are willing to be held personally accountable for our position’s responsibilities. We’ll be held accountable just as we hold them accountable to fulfill their positions’ part of the plan. And fewer chaotic and misaligned actions mean fewer chances for confusion, lost productivity, and disconnected employees.

Avoid the moth effect. Let your employees know what you’re doing to help the organization succeed. Act as one of the team by clarifying your role and helping the team stay connected. Hold yourself to the strategic plan. Hold yourself accountable. Hold yourself up as a leader.


Copyright MMIII – Liz Weber, CMC, CSP – Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890

Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching.


Liz Weber CMCLiz Weber, CMC CSP

Liz Weber coaches, consults, and trains leadership teams. She specializes in strategic and succession planning, and leadership development.

Liz is one of fewer than 100 people in the U.S. to hold both the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) and Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designations.

Contact Liz’s office at +1.717.597.8890 for more info on how Liz can help you, or click here to have Liz’s office contact you.


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2 thoughts on “Avoid the Moth Effect”

  1. Liz,

    Spot on — this is so right on target and not just for leaders. Front line employees can also fall victim to The Moth Effect among their team mates and colleagues —

    1. Thanks for commenting Gregg. Yes it does apply to all not just leaders, but if a leader behaves in this manner, it wreaks havoc organization-wide!

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Posted by Liz Weber CMC on June 30, 2011 in Leadership Development and tagged , , ,