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.
Far too many organizations are dependent upon far too few people to be successful. I often ask my clients, “What happens to your business if something happens to you?” The answers more often than mot are less than satisfactory. One of the key jobs of a leader is to mitigate risk and one of the biggest risks you have in any company is people risk – starting at the top. It may feed your ego to be critically important to your company but it is no way to build an enduring successful organization.
One of my least favorite sayings I hear from business owners is that “we throw people into the deep end of the pool and see if they can swim.” What a bunch of nonsense! As a leader it is incumbent upon you to make sure your people have the job clarity, tools, resources and training to be successful. You are supposed to set people up for success not push them towards failure. Darwinian logic misapplied to the work environment is professional malpractice.
Everyone needs positive role models in their life and this experience shouldn’t end with childhood. As we go through our lives we will often stumble across unchartered territory. There will be times when there are no easy answers or doing the right thing won’t be as easy as it sounds. It is during moments like this we need to have something or someone to fall back on.
It’s easy to fall in love with your own opinions and limit your intellectual breadth to your own world view; however it also stunts your growth personally and professionally. A good mentor will ensure this does not happen by providing an objective opinion regarding your ideas, decisions and actions.