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Welcome to Break the Tape Leadership

Updated: Feb 3, 2023

woman runner breaking through a finish line tape

You are not the first to wonder, where did the name “Break the Tape Leadership” come from? When I decided to take three decades of leadership experience and channel it into an executive coaching and business growth consulting practice, I thought deeply about what defined my professional and personal leadership development. Not surprising, the image that first came to mind was a competitive marathon runner breaking the tape as she crossed the finish line. Breaking the tape is an achievement that symbolizes a series of steps that include preparing, training, removing limiting beliefs, strategy, and stamina. It doesn’t just happen. The first half of a marathon relies on physical preparation, the second half requires mental discipline, while the athlete prepares for the unexpected at any stage of the race. The business equivalent is when leaders and organizations do the impossible by outplaying those who focus only on the possible, set a compelling vision and generate momentum, drive values-based strategies, and achieve their growth goals.

Removing Obstacles & Barriers

Yet, there is more to breaking the tape than finishing a race. It also means removing barriers or obstacles that stand in the way. There are obstacles of the “red tape” variety that need to be cut through. Or barriers that are self-imposed, like adhesive tape that must be removed or unstuck before moving ahead. Despite common belief, breaking the tape can’t always be done by sole conviction or by internal goal setting and focus. It often needs an outside perspective to create forward momentum. And that is the type of momentum I love to help leaders and organizations create. There is nothing more exhilarating then getting unstuck and removing bureaucratic processes that have lost their effectiveness.

Focusing on Creativity & Growth

It is by design that Break the Tape Leadership focuses primarily on growth-oriented leaders and organizations that understand that creativity is a strategy. Those that drive growth know that success is not just a numbers game. Yes, there is revenue growth, or increasing profitability by lowering costs, but today any leader or organization that isn’t paying attention to other types of growth: empathy, inclusion, diversity, and building a human-centered culture; is on a fast track to becoming obsolete. Success requires breaking the rules on how you look at metrics and organizational culture rather than relying on how things may have been done in the past. Breaking the tape means updating your playlist. Today’s leader needs to move to an authentic narrative that reflects the business they envision and the business today’s customer demands. That doesn’t come from someone else’s playbook. It comes from your employees, your customers, your leadership, and how boldly you embrace your sector’s trends and your ability to change. Break the tape is about finding that inner courage and weaving it into everything you do in your business and your leadership. Just like a composition needs a trained musician to make exquisite music, your leadership or business may benefit from a partner that can help you hit all the right notes. Break the Tape Leadership strives to be that trusted coach and/or advisor.

Unleashing Your Potential

Creativity and growth share a common ingredient: potential. Breaking the tape symbolizes that potential. It’s akin to the excitement you feel when you receive a package in the mail or an unexpected gift; it's that feeling of anticipation knowing something good awaits inside. The process of breaking the packing tape or the gift tape is a metaphor for the growth and/or creative potential a leader or organization has when they are willing to put in the work and push the boundaries of possibility. That is where Break the Tape Leadership shines, helping you achieve more than most leaders and organizations imagine. And growth doesn't always mean "more" but it does mean maximizing what drives your purpose.

Measuring What Matters

Finally, the “tape” in Break the Tape Leadership calls for a new standard of measurement. Creative organizations focused on growing their impact, their profitability, and/or their talent and potential need benchmarks and milestones. The key to success is knowing how to measure what matters. That measurement is different for each business and for each leader and/or team. It is dependent upon the objective, goal, and timeline. Metrics are different for a 5K runner than for a marathoner, just as building a solution-oriented team requires different ingredients than building a forensic-insight team. Co-creating customized leadership or organizational frameworks is where Break the Tape Leadership can help. It’s a way of working that focuses on sustaining growth long after a coaching or consulting practice concludes.

I’ll be writing about these six Break the Tape Leadership tenets understanding that creative growth does not happen in isolation. I invite you to sign up for the Break the Tape newsletter, share your experiences and insights, including what rings true (and what doesn’t). And if I can help, I invite you to reach out. I’d love to help you break the tape and reach your full potential.

Break the Tape Leadership helps leaders unleash creativity and potential in themselves and the organizations they lead to generate meaningful momentum. (And we have fun developing more agents of creativity for a less boring world.)

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