For most of my adult life I have searched for the perfect formula to become a successful leader. Along this journey I have read many leadership books, taken MBA classes at universities, attended seminars and followed advice given by mentors. While these experiences have been enlightening something was missing …..
Recently I experienced an “Ah Hah” moment! At the 2009 PCMA Leadership conference in Austin, TX a speaker, Clay Nelson, said something that resonated with me:
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader!”
Through these words came the following realization:
The path to leadership success:
- Lies within your soul.
- Is fueled by a passion for excellence
- Is driven by your desire to unselfishly help people succeed in their life’s pursuits
- Is paved with Integrity — aligning your actions with your values!
The closing Luncheon/General Session of the PCMA conference featured professional speaker Jason Jennings, author of the recent NY Times Bestseller, “Hit The Ground Running.” In preparation for his book Jason researched the performance of CEO’s for the top 1,000 companies publicly traded in the US. The evaluation period was 2001 through 2007. The study’s objective was to identify the Top Ten corporate executives in America, pinpointing their common leadership characteristics.
Jason’s speech,entitled “The Five Secrets Of The World’s Best Performing Leaders and Companies” was grounded by the above research and contained the following powerful insights:
Secret #1– Great leaders Drive A Stake In The Ground For A Cause!
A “Cause” is not a Mission or Vision statement! It is
- doing something big and bold
- It is the non financial reason for doing what you do
- It fixes something wrong
- It is more than a goal
- It gives meaning to your life
A “Cause” provides purpose, fuels passion of those around you and drives momentum. It builds community and the right culture is the ultimate competitive advantage!
Secret #2 — Great Leaders Let Go!
What does this mean? A leader must “let Go” of:
- Yesterday’s breadwinners
- Their Ego
- Same old-same old (i.e. “if its not broke don’t fix it”)
- Conventional wisdom
When a leader “lets go” they are better able to deal with change. They stay more focused than their rivals and Innovation happens!
Secret #3 — Great Leaders Are Real Solution Providers!
Real “solution providing” occurs when
- A prospect or client believes them
- When their point of difference is acknowledged
- They have learned the prospects/clients business
- They have diagnosed and quantified their needs
- They have crafted a genuine solution
- The prospect/client views them as a partner
Secret #4 — Great Leaders Make Sure Everyone Knows The Strategy!
Secret strategies don’t work because
- People don’t get emotionally connected
- Corners get cut and illegal things happen
- There’s zero accountability
Nothing will discourage teamwork more rapidly than the “secret strategy.” How can a leader motivate their staff to perform when they don’t understand what the plan is?
Secret #5 — Great Leaders are Stewards!
What is a steward? Stewardship is
- Service over short term self-interest
- Abandoning power over others
- Preserving all resources
- Nurturing, authentic, mentoring and selflessness
Stewards are leaders who are accessible, “hands on,” and stand for something. They ignore superficial distinctions, strive to make it better for everyone, and are coaches/mentors. Their “calling” is to serve others!
Can you imagine what could be achieved on your team when everyone
- Shares the same cause
- Is able to let go
- Becomes a true solution provider
- Makes sure everyone knows the strategy
- Sees their role as a good steward
Ask yourself these questions and please post your thoughts:
- What is your cause?
- What do you need to let go of?
- How can you be a better solution provider?
- How can you make certain everyone on your team knows the strategy?
- What does being a good steward mean to you?