Get Out of Your Lane

Dr. Joel English, Exec VP at AIM, Centura College, and Tidewater Tech, and Advisor at the Transformation Collaborative™, just published a new blog post on the importance of being willing to frequently step outside whatever you’ve been led to believe is your “lane.”

He astutely notes that, “Stark dividing lines might be good for street traffic. Lanes may be good for bowling. But I don’t think they are great for institutions, nor for impactful leaders within institutions.”


I’m not a fan of the phrase, “Stay in your lane.”  It’s certainly an easy phrase to say, especially when you’re feeling criticism or conflict from someone outside of your department.  “Stay in your lane” is a common phrase used in many different situations—that’s what makes it a cliché.  And using clichéd phrases, because they are familiar, punchy, and commonly accepted, can make us feel like we need no further justification.  When we tell someone to stay in their lane, we have the sense that we need no other argument:  They should stay out of areas where they have no business, authority, or experience.

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