What’s your “hill to die on”?

by | Sep 1, 2022

We’ve all heard this phrase before. It’s what we say when we’re trying to determine which battles are worth fighting and which battles are better left alone for our sake and for the sake of all involved.

As a #leader, you can’t put out EVERY fire, you can’t solve EVERY problem, you can’t preemptively eliminate EVERY issue before it arises. You also can’t pursue EVERY opportunity.

You’re only one person.

BUT you do have INFLUENCE and RESPONSIBILITY. You can put out SOME fires, solve SOME problems, eliminate SOME issues, and pursue SOME opportunities.

So, how do you know what issues or opportunities are the most IMPORTANT ones?

How can you identify your HILL TO DIE ON as a leader—whether it’s holding someone on your team accountable, advocating for a needed change, introducing a new idea or #innovation.

Here are four questions to consider to help you answer that question:

1) Where are we HEADED and WHY?

The first and most important factor is knowing where you as a team/organization are truly heading and ‘why’. What vision or important goal are you striving for? If you don’t know where you are going, any road can get you there.

2) What do we NEED?

Determine what your team or organization needs in order to be successful in accomplishing the vision/goal while also making sure it’s also sustainable. You may want to set sail for an exciting new destination, but if you have a leak in your boat, you have to put the compass and map down long enough to fix the leak. You have to first address the health and sustainability of your team.

3) What do we VALUE?

Next is making sure you and your team are clear and aligned with the core values of your organization. If you work in a healthy organization that clearly defines its mission and core values and holds all its team members (from the C-suite to entry level team members) accountable to them, then it’s important to make sure that whatever you focus on and devote your energy toward is in alignment with those core values and mission.

4) Do we have the RESOURCES and SUPPORT?

The reality is, as good as an idea is and as critical as an issue may seem, you’ll need resources and support. At this point, if you’ve made it to this question, there’s a good indication that whatever you feel the need to focus on is important. You’re also clear on who you want the team to be while working toward it. The question now is whether you have the resources and support at your disposal to make it happen.

Knowing your “hill to die on” may sound a bit morbid. 🙂

But what it conveys is the dedication to dig your heels in, to be willing to put yourself on the line because you believe in something so strongly.

That kind of passion and determination is commendable…and it’s what inspires others to follow you – even when times get tough.

It’s also important to vet that passion and determination, to make sure it’s working FOR you, your team, and organization, rather than AGAINST you.