Creating Organizational Pain

Erikjan Lantink
3 min readJun 30, 2023

Are you repairing your roof when the sun is shining or when the water leaks into your house because of heavy rain?

Blockbuster video never ‘repaired its roof’ when the sun was shining. It was already far too late when Netflix showed up and started to disrupt Blockbuster’s business model.

We’re all human beings, and humans build and lead organizations.

Human beings, logically, find it hard to create their pain.

We don’t like to nearly kill ourselves in the gym, but we do want the result of being fit or strong.

Pain is part of growth.

No pain. No gain.

Occasionally you must lean into discomfort, growth, or pain to grow.

That’s the same for organizations and the leadership of organizations.

When you smell complacency or arrogance, or worse, both, you
should realize that this is your wake-up call.

In some cases, a wake-up call may already be too late. The better solution is to build proactive warning systems that help you detect complacency or arrogance before it’s too late.

Great leaders are connected to the organization at all levels.

They know exactly what’s going on.

They can connect with people of all backgrounds and inspire them to talk.

Great leaders know what to look for and can listen at the deepest level, including the ability to ‘hear the unsaid.’

Great leaders spend more time with their people and customers than with their laptops.

They can translate their intuition into action, creating small, continuous changes rather than waiting for a massive transformation or turnaround.

Great leaders also shake the tree when nobody understands why they would do that, creating organizational pain nobody was waiting for.

They do it because they know the company will be better off in the long run.

I spent time with such a leader recently.



Erikjan Lantink

Business & Leadership coach. Interim Leader. Writer. Speaker. Former Retail Executive (general management; operations; HR)