The most painful thing to watch going into a new year is a leader who refuses to see what the market's telling her. If competitors have taken over a niche, sales are declining, or the technology you're utilizing is becoming obsolete, don't drag your feet in making a change. While you may want your vision to happen, your team's frustration is growing because you refuse to see reality and adopt a new vision. is a well-known fashion site, but it didn't start out that way. Its founders' original vision was a gay men's' social network. That flopped, but the co-founders noticed that visitors liked their product recommendations. They shifted to follow their strength (and the market's demand) and found much bigger success.

When leaders won't loosen their grip on their vision, they've become obstacles to the vision itself. Leaders who want real growth must be willing to learn from others--and give up what they can't have to get what they can.