It shouldn’t take a crisis to force action, but many leaders seem to operate this way. As a result, a large number of companies are always in a reactive mode and waiting for external or internal stimuli to prompt action. Unfortunately, this type of mindset tends to lead to increased time pressures and higher margin for error. Life and business tends to reward those who take proactive control of their future and penalizes others who yield too much control to other factors. In essence, the sooner you take positive action the higher the likelihood you will navigate whatever storms come your way or even prevent the storms from happening in the first place.
Month: August 2012
Imagine if someone was rushed to the Emergency Room of a hospital with severe symptoms of something wrong and then decided to tell the doctor that that it was no big deal and then selectively shared information about their true physical state. You would think this person was being irresponsible with their health. This happens all the time in business. Leaders let their pride and ego get in the way and it prevents them form being forthright and honest at the very time they need to be. I’ve seen many a business go down the tubes that didn’t have to because the leader was slow to act, slow to ask for help and unwilling to face reality. Avoidance rarely works in business or life.
I chair two CEO/Business Owner peer groups for Vistage International. It is a great work that I truly find rewarding on many levels. One of the many benefits of this experience is listening to many subject matter expert speakers and having a vast pool of knowledgeable colleagues to tap into. A few stand out from this exceptional crowd including the speaker we had yesterday – Pat Murray. I have a learned a great deal from him about leadership and group dynamics. When you are in the presence of an expert, make sure you listen to him/her.
There is a great song by the band Psychedelic Furs called “Love My Way.” One of the lines goes, “you can never win or lose if you don’t run the race…” Grammatical problems aside, it is a great thought. One of the things I admire most about Olympic athletes is that they are committed to being the best in the world at something and then go about doing the hard work to make it happen. They literally run the race or compete in the event that will define their athletic existence. Most of us prefer to stay on the sidelines and watch others excel why we rationalize our own inability to do the same thing in our own lives. So many people dream big but act small.
I’ve always felt that vacations should mandatory. Everyone needs some time away from their work to recharge and reflect. There should be moments where it is just about having fun and enjoying life without the constraints of the work week. You never just want to narrowly define yourself by what you do for a living. We are all so much more than that.
Time is finite. No matter how hard we try, we can’t create more of it, so we have to manage the time we have in the best way possible. A leader typically has no time to waste. You need to minimize distractions and maximize your focus. Here are some tips on how to manage your time better:
I’ve met many talented people through the years who struggle with self-confidence and low self-esteem. I don’t know if it is how they were raised by their parents or other environmental factors in their lives growing up, but it is often surprising to see and also a bit sad. Unfortunately, leadership roles aren’t always assumed by the most capable or well intentioned people. I’ve seen the flip side of this issue where people with too much self-confidence put themselves in positions they have no business being in. The leadership void will get filled one way or another.
It is fascinating to watch the Olympics for many reasons including watching how the different athletes handle pressure. Some people seem to seize the moment with relative ease while others sadly fall apart and make uncharacteristic mistakes. When you get to this level of performance excellence just about every competing athlete has superlative physical gifts and natural ability. What separates the winners from the losers is often their mental toughness and emotional resiliency. They have grace under pressure.
The more success you have the more temptations will come your way. It’s easy to start to think of yourself as different or special when you outperform your peers. You may begin to rationalize that the same basic moral rules don’t apply to you, but they do. Character is certainly forged in the fires of adversity. However, you also learn a lot about someone’s character when everything seems to go their way. The saying goes “if you want to know who someone truly is then give them money and power.”