Congrats to those of you who don’t need leadership in your organization.
That’s really neat.
Organizations that don’t value leadership won’t be here in a couple years to need it. Interesting how that works…
For the rest of us, it’s time to innovate, strategize, recruit, and envision.
Nevertheless, I’m continually surprised by how many managers don’t lead, how many companies cut down their leadership ranks to save money, and how many leaders don’t bother to lead themselves higher first.
Difficult times call for stronger leaders. We need you tonight.
This won’t apply to everyone. If you have trouble staying motivated, my blog isn’t for you. Try the thousands of CD’s, DVD’s, or books out there designed to motivate you. (Or try a motivational speaker instead)
For 8pm Warriors, motivation is the easy part.
By nature, we’re motivated people. We have goals. We have bright visions. We have big dreams.
Assuming that we also have brains, some level of success is a foregone conclusion.
Unless we get demotivated.
When you find and lead motivated people, remember that the key to success isn’t motivation. It’s avoiding demotivation.
Be sensitive to their needs
Operate in an open and honest manner
Chances are you already know these suggestions. Now it’s time to focus on them.
If you’ve been watching the stock markets the past week, you know what it looks like when hell is breaking loose.
You also know what poor leadership looks like.
As the old saying goes:
If you want something done, delegate it.
If you want it done right, do it yourself.
If you don’t want it done at all, send it to a committee.
Since the year began, there have been zero job creation bills come out of the US Congress. At the same time, the US credit rating was downgraded after 100+ years at AAA (the highest level), the FAA shut down, and the country almost defaulted on it’s debt.
Yet, there is no vision out of this mess. Uncertainty is everywhere you look. Fear is growing.
We don’t have an economy problem, we have a leadership problem.
Where’s the leadership?
It’s in committee…
This is a teachable point of view for any organization. When things get tough, one person has to:
1) Come up with a vision
2) Get everyone behind it.
If those two things don’t happen, there is no leadership.
If you’re the designated leader at this point in history, I hope you’re up with me right now at 2am figuring out what your team is going to do.
This may be the single most forgotten piece of the leadership puzzle. Many people give orders, manage people, provide training, etc., but what separates a leader from a manager is the act of going somewhere.
Where are you going?
If you don’t know, then chances are good that others don’t know either. People can always tell. If they don’t know where you’re going, they don’t know where they’ll be going if they follow. A major problem.
A road map isn’t required to lead successfully, but leaders must have a vision and openly share it.
It changes the whole game.
As I mentioned in my birthday post, my first and best memories are of going somewhere. There’s something about heading towards something new, fresh, exciting. A person feels different inside. There’s a purpose to one’s steps. Hope. Adventure. Excitement.
Give your team members a reason to stay…a reason to follow.
I know some leaders who get a kick out of the short-term financial boost they get after a round of layoffs, but I question how helpful layoffs actually are to a company that doesn’t really need to do them. The key word there is need. (Full Disclosure: I have laid off people myself)
I think of modern companies as a portfolio of people, not a portfolio of products, services, or assets. Cutting out part of your people portfolio is similar to selling off assets to add cash reserves. It may make sense in the short term, but selling assets isn’t an intelligent strategy to make money in the long term.
Layoffs aren’t sexy and should be reserved for desperate times. It’s a desperate measure.
Layoffs make everyone uncomfortable and cause the remaining people to start looking around
Talented people like to work for a growing company, not a shrinking one
Layoffs change a good company culture and breed lingering distrust
Layoffs highlight poor decisions by top leadership (over hiring or poor vision/planning)
The company permanently loses knowledge about it’s operations, it’s customers and itself
It might feel great to boost the stock price or add more cushion to the bottom line, but it isn’t a strategy to win. Save it for the desperate times.
Successful leaders lead their people forward, not out of the building.
While reading Warren Buffett’s letter to the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders last week, I came across something very interesting.
Apparently, Warren Buffett just hired 39-year-old Todd Combs as part of his succession plan. Some are up in arms, saying he “lacks experience” and is too green. Since Todd and I share the same generation, I was intrigued by the following explanation by the “Oracle of Omaha” himself:
“Our goal was to find a 2-year-old Secretariat, not a 10-year-old Seabiscuit.”
- Warren Buffett
I want to be clear that I have absolutely no problem with experienced people. In fact, I’m on the lookout for an experienced mentor myself. I believe that experience may bring additional maturity, strength, and other positive traits to a person.
However, in a time when our world is changing faster than ever before, I want to caution people who focus on “experience” rather than talent and learning ability.
Just look at the last 10 years, as Google went mainstream and some of the most popular marketing tools in the world wove themselves into the fabric our lives:
The Attention Age has begun!
With New Media entering the stage, business leaders must deal with 24 hour news cycles and the collective attention span of a world constantly seeking out the next big thing.
Personally, I’m enjoying it.
I’m embracing it. I’m learning it. I’m living it.
Whether you’re a “10-year-old Seabiscuit” or a “2-year-old Secretariat”, one thing is for certain:
Experience isn’t as important as it used to be.
We’re all students in these new and exciting times, and the leaders who are best with creativity, learning, and vision will win big.