There are many “good” organizations and very few “great” organizations. That’s mostly because when you get good, you tend to stop changing, stop growing, stop challenging and stop taking risks.
Leaders who stay at good are living in their past and from their past.” Said John Maxwell during one of his sessions at the most recent International Maxwell Certification (IMC) in Orlando, Florida. John went on to say, “These leaders succumbed to these six temptations have moved from a growth mindset to a maintenance mindset.” In one of his sessions, John shared The Six Temptations of a Successful Organization from Dave Anderson in his book “Up Your Business.” I took several pages of notes in an attempt to capture both his words and the spirit of what he shared so I could share it with you.
One of John’s Business Bullets in this particular session was that “Neither you or me or our businesses ever arrives, there is no “Whew, we’ve made it.” Celebrate the moment(s) of success and then tomorrow, go to being better.” Be sure to celebrate the wins, the moments. It’s key to engagement. He went on to say, “My (our) growth is what keeps us in the game and that growth brings awareness to us.” Awareness is critically important because when people stop growing, it’s usually because they are unaware. “You can’t fix what you don’t know!” Here are the first three of The Six Temptations of a Successful Organization.
The leaders of a successful organization are tempted to stop working on themselves. They are tempted to stop learning and to stop growing not realizing the dire consequences that come with the stopping. When the leader stops improving and growing, it’s only a matter of time before the business stops improving and we all know if it isn’t improving…well it’s not good!
The reason they stop learning and growing is typically for one of two reasons:
- Either by Ignorance, they didn’t know, they weren’t aware.
- The other reason is Arrogance, They (wrongly) think, they already know it all. That makes them a “know it all” and a “know it all” is a person who has actually stopped working on themselves but they are actively telling others how to improve.
“The minute you stop doing something, stop teaching it!” Advised John. Growing people, grow people. When you don’t grow yourself, you don’t (can’t) grow people. One of my favorite quotes is by John Wooden and he said, “It’s what you learn after you think you know it all that counts.”
The leaders of successful organizations are tempted to stop thinking big! One of the many things I admire about my friend and client, Jason Mansfield of Mansfield Plumbing, is his confident, non-braggadocios belief in the growth of himself, his family and his employees. When you stop thinking big, you begin to lose momentum and momentum is a leader’s best friend. When things are on a roll, for goodness sake, don’t stop the roll!
When you’re on that roll, when you’re doing well, John says, “Go Shopping!” What does that mean? Visit people, other leaders and other companies that are better than you. Visit ones who are bigger than you and Better than you. The late Jim Rohn said, “We are the average of the five people we hang around with the most.” Be intentional about who you’re hanging around with. Make sure they are pulling you to what you want, toward your future, not dragging you to what you don’t want.
Always be asking:
- Where am I going that’s going to stretch me?
- Who am I seeing that’s going to challenge me?
- What am I doing that’s going to change me?
The leaders of successful organizations are tempted to stop leading from the front. In not leading from the front, they are no longer visible to their team. They stop doing “people work” and start doing “paperwork.”
Here are four ways to stay visible as a leader:
1. Attend meetings where your presence makes a positive difference. Make sure the room is brighter when you come in versus getting brighter when you leave.
2. Take time to connect and build relationships with your people. Get to know them, really know them, their dreams, their goals, and their fears.
3. When you’re in front leading, you’re able to “Leadershift” more quickly. If you’re not in front you don’t see the shifts that need to be made.
4. Lead by example. The oldest leadership principle, “People do what people see” especially what the leader does, whether you think they’re watching or not… they are. Use the phrase from the French lieutenants in the great World War One, “Follow-me!” Be the first! Be the example. You can’t build or reinforce a healthy culture if you’re not a visible leader.
These are the first three in The Six Temptations of a Successful Organization. Before the next installment, think about these first three.
- Work on yourself. What’s your growth plan?
- Keep on or begin (again) Thinking Big! What are your Big Hairy Audacious Goals, Your BHAGs?
- Lead from the front. Be visible!