Does your business, team, or leadership need a ‘glow up’?

When I was 13, my most treasured possession was a neon orange, black and red floral vintage dress. It was the only thing in my closet that wasn’t black, but it was sufficiently punk.

I loved and wore this dress constantly for two years. 

It was my trusty companion to my first concert (New Order), my first “proper” make out with my boyfriend and many, many furtively dragged Marlborough Lights on the top field at Wanganui Girls College. 

But then one morning when I was fifteen, I pulled out my trusty dress and put it on. 

It didn’t fit. Literally, it was too tight. But also, metaphorically, it didn’t feel quite right. I still loved it, but it didn’t fit the version of me that I’d been growing into over those two years.

After much angst and some ill-fitting excursions with my dress, I did, as Marie Kondo instructs, and said “thank you” before I let it go with love.

What do you need to let go of?

This isn’t just about a dress. Turns out, leaders and organisations also hold on to things for too long.

Here are some examples of what you might need to let go of:

  • The golden brand that was a star, then became a cash cow and is now a dog, as per the BCG matrix.
  • The IT system that’s worked swimmingly for your organisation until one day - it suddenly doesn’t.
  • The leadership practice that’s been your superpower, until you discover that now it’s become an overused strength.
  • The strategy that’s no longer fit for purpose or doesn’t match up to the future you’re facing.

There comes a time where companies and leaders must also ‘make like Marie Kondo’. 

Over the last six months, I’ve found myself in the dress predicament again. But this time, it’s about my business, my brand, the way I communicate and what I’m communicating about what I do.

How do you identify what to let go of?

1. Look for dis-ease.

Instead of feeling energy, flow, and excitement, you feel a small but noticeable discomfort. Maybe you’re getting patterns of feedback from different stakeholders that something’s clunky, wrong or not working well. Maybe you’re looking at the external factors rolling towards you, your team, or the organisation - and the roadmap you’re operating from doesn’t make quite as much sense as it did.

2. Identify and question sacred cows.

Look at any firmly-held beliefs that have gone unquestioned and consider: if you had the courage to look at this more closely, would it still pass the test? If you find instances of unconscious acceptance, or hear anyone saying: “we’ve always done it this way”, that’s a clue to explore further.

3. Think Greenfields.

If you were to start from scratch and a blank piece of paper, knowing what you’re facing, and looking at the landscape, would your leadership practice/strategy/system be the one you would choose? What would you do differently if you were designing something now for your desired outcome?

4. Grieve (if you must), acknowledge and let go.

Like I did with my dress, you can acknowledge the journey you have taken together. Heck, you can even turn it into a story to be kept dear in your hearts and minds. But then, let it go – it’s time to face reality.

5. Keep what does fit and what works.

Consider what DOES work and what you should keep. As with any metaphorical spring cleaning, or wardrobe strategy, work out your own version of the classic black jacket.

Before you go ahead with your own clean out and reassessment, here are the results of my own Marie Kondo journey.

Our exciting developments:

Suzi McAlpine Leadership team

New Team!

I'm delighted to have brought two leadership superstars into the fold to support the delivery of our cornerstone programme, The Leader’s Map.

Jayne Chater is a coach, leadership development specialist, speaker and author who has devoted her career to supporting people to self-actualise their lives and their careers.

Libby Irwin is an executive leadership coach passionate about working with both teams and individuals looking for positive personal and professional transformation.

Brand identity comparison

New name!

We're now Suzi McAlpine Leadership. While it's a small tweak to the name, it speaks volumes about our journey—it represents our expanding team, our growing impact, and the value we continue to deliver.

Rebranding work

New look, new feel!

You might notice our branding has a fresh new look and feel. A big shout out to Anthony Gatt from Gattica and his team for being my sherpa through this whole rebranding journey. 

Leadership Services

Although the business is sporting a new look my key leadership services will remain the same. Scroll down to see how we can support you and your team.

Suzi McAlpine speaking on stage

Speaking and Webinars

I love speaking to teams and at conferences about leadership and burnout prevention. And from the feedback I’ve received from organisations who have had me speak, and audience members who have seen me on stage, this is an area of strength for me. I’m excited to continue to deliver in this way.

Screenshot of The Leader's Digest

The Leader's Digest

For more than a decade, I’ve been sharing free leadership tips on my award-winning blog, The Leader’s Digest.

It's a fantastic hub of information and leadership tools for you to use, and to share with your teams.

Please subscribe (if you haven't already) and encourage your teams to use this free resource!

And the services below are currently fully booked - but if you're interested get in touch and I'll let you know when they are available.

Executive Coaching for CEOs

One-to-one executive coaching for chief executives and C-suite to improve leadership performance and capability. Led by Suzi McAlpine.

The Executive Team Map

Previously called Pivot, The Executive Team Map is a highly customised leadership programme which enables senior leaders to become the leadership team they aspire to be.

As an organisation and a leader, you sometimes need to shake things up, shift things out, and think about who you’re evolving to be. Take a look at what still fits and what you need to move on from. A final thank you to the brand that has gotten me this far, and the dress that shepherded me through those key moments of my early teenage years.

Here’s to having the courage to let go of what no longer serves us while we keep only what does.

To find out more about any of the services I’ve mentioned above, get in touch with me at [email protected] or look around our new website.


May 20, 2024 AT 12:11PM

The brand looks fabulous - and love the dress too! I feel like my wardrobe still has a few too many relics from too long ago. However, I love the advice to clean out our thinking and beliefs too - that they also need some updating!

May 22, 2024 AT 7:45AM

I’ve been writing about functional hope to help people go beyond intentions to implementations.

After establishing habits, it’s easy to stop evaluating efficacy, so declines aren’t noticed.

People can determine whether products &/or methods work by comparing benefits to efforts needed for maximizing results. Do similar benefit levels require more time, effort &/or other resources? Worn out products & unevaluated techniques feel beneficial after people stop comparing & measuring.

As people master new methods, efforts are smoother, faster & possibly more effective & efficient.

While rushing through familiar tasks & dealing with distractions, people might habituate to declining results & assume benefits remain level. This seems to justify resistance to change.

New techniques & products inspire comparison criteria.

By practicing with new products &/or techniques, people might achieve higher effectiveness & efficiency. If new options aren’t better, people can return to previous habits with new perspectives. These perspectives might show old habits require more effort & time to produce adequate results than new techniques after more practice.

We can offer higher productivity to persuade people to adopt products & techniques. Even if results are the same, higher productivity can mean more time & energy for other activities. Since people are uncomfortable with changes, discomfort is often a major criterion for rejecting changes.

Help people determine which results would justify discomfort of changes. Which benefits would offset discomfort?

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