Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Continue to Grow as a Leader

Continue to Grow as a Leader

Lesson 12

Right now, I’m extending my arm four to six years into the future and plucking something out to give you.  It's the Yellow Pages from the future.  For some people, it’s the stock exchange index or Dunn and Bradstreet directory.  For many, it’s the company organization chart.  Is your name listed?  In what capacity?  Are you surprised at what you see?  If you have a sense of urgency about growth and effectiveness as a leader, you and your organization should be in a prominent position.  If you don’t, chances are good that there won’t be a trace of you left.  Your attitude, shaped by your sense of urgency, will be largely responsible for producing the results you’re looking for.

Do you have room to grow?  Look at it this way: what are your team members saying about you to their spouses and children at home?  You're not a topic of conversation.  You're the topic of conversation.  When someone comes to work for you, he or she is essentially laying his or her life on your desk and saying, “I trust you and this organization to do right by me and my family.”  That is a heavy responsibility.  If that person wastes a year or two of his or her life, that time will never be recovered.  People’s lives should be enhanced and opportunities should abound for them and their families because they had the good sense to come to work for you.  Working successfully with you can mean a college education for the kids or simply an overall quality of life they might not otherwise enjoy.  Your effectiveness as a leader affects people’s lives. 

A strong desire to do the right thing, beginning with ourselves and permeating every personal and professional relationship we have, marks our commitment to excellence.  A healthy discontent for the way things are is like a little burr under the saddle making it slightly uncomfortable to sit back and coast.  When Walt Disney told his people not to rest on their laurels, it was because he was a leader who understood the consequences of complacency.  Constantly looking for new directions and ways to improve what we’re doing doesn’t need to spoil the pride and sense of accomplishment that comes from a job well done.  But, we must continue to grow in new directions.

Walt Disney illustrated the need to constantly scan the horizon for growth opportunities when he resisted his advisers’ urging to produce a sequel to the enormously successful Three Little Pigs.  They pressured him and he reluctantly agreed.  After the sequel turned out to be a box office bust, Disney called his advisers together and announced a new law that is heard around the Disney organization to this very day.  "You can’t top pigs with pigs.”

Invest some time and energy in developing the following three important leadership characteristics:

  • Develop a sense of urgency.
  • Develop a healthy discontent with the way things are.
  • Develop an appreciation for the awesome responsibilities of leadership.

“An organization will never rise above the quality of its leadership.”  NEVER.