Sunday, May 30, 2010

Extreme Leadership: How Will You Change Your World?

Have you ever wondered why those young guys wear the baggy pants?  You know who I mean…. the dudes that wear their baseball hats backwards, with over sized t-shirts, and shorts that are 3-4 sizes too large, with their boxers hanging out.  What’s the point of it?  What are they thinking?

Believe it or not there is a method to that fashion madness.  Skateboarders first developed that style (baggy pants) years ago so they could wear knee-pads under their clothes.  It was their way of managing the ‘fear’ or ‘risk’ that goes along with the extreme sport of skateboarding.

In reality the majority of people wearing baggy pants aren’t skateboarders at all.  According to Steve Farber,”They’re called ‘posers‘; they want you to think they’re risk takers, and real skaters can’t stand them.”

Extreme Leader or Poser?

That scenario can be played out in an analogy, to describe the world of leadership.  Mr. Farber, in  his book, “The Radical Leap:  A Personal Lesson in Extreme Leadership” asserts that, in business, calling yourself a leader, or wearing a title that implies it, doesn’t mean “squat.”

“People who wear ‘leader’ as a label without putting themselves wholeheartedly into the act of leading are just like fashion hounds — they’re the posers of the business world.” — Steve Farber

I have quickly become a “Farber Fan,” as his books and presentations contain powerful, relevant messages, that are easy to read, and understand.  For more information about Steve please visit his website, or feel free to review an article I published earlier this month, about him.

The OS!M (Oh Shit! Moment)

A common mistake made by many (wannabe) business leaders is in their belief they should be viewed as invincible.  In reality, the opposite is true, as human beings, by nature, follow other human beings, not “idealized icons of unattainable perfection.”

The path to Extreme leadership is paved with having the heart to take on risk, embrace the fear of the moment, and allow ourselves to grow.  Farber calls this the “Oh Shit! Moment (OS!M).  When you share your OS!M’s publicly, for everyone to see, you send a message that says we should all be doing this.”

Ironically, while the action of transparently sharing your moment of fear feigns weakness, it actually demonstrates your resolve, as a leader, to courageously do what is right for the business, its customers, and its employees.  That, my friends, will go a long way towards building your reputation, as a person that “walks the talk.”

When people see, by your actions, you are a person of integrity, with a human side, they will be drawn to you.  Your messaging becomes believable.  In fact, it’s contagious!

Motivated by Love

So why should extreme leaders care?  Really, it could be a variety of reasons, but above all things it is rooted in love.

“If I love who we are , and if  I love what we can be, then I’ll love the process of how we get there.  And in order to make it all happen, I will act boldly and courageously and I will, at times, fail magnificently.  But my love demands that I try.  Demands it.”  — William G. Maritime (fictional character depicted by Steve Farber)

It is this passion, or love of our business, the people we work with, and our customers, that energizes us to care like we mean it!  How we “walk through the fire,” navigate through fear, or embrace those OS!M’s is largely determined by our core love for what we do.

When I finished reading Steve’s book, this morning, I have to admit it left me feeling a little bit unsettled.  In fact, I feel downright challenged.  I can no longer accept anything but full commitment from myself, into everything I do.  To settle for anything less than that, is a dis-service to myself, and to everyone around me.

Question:  Are you a ‘Poser’ or are you the real deal… an Extreme Leader?  How have you learned to walk through the fire?  How are you changing the World?  Love to hear your thoughts!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenise Fryatt June 2, 2010 at 2:48 pm

I love this post, Mike. Very inspiring. Over time I’ve learned that when I push myself beyond my comfort level I am able to achieve amazing things. For me, the most uncomfortable thing has always been appearing inadequate. In my younger days I was afraid to try anything because I could never be comfortable with being bad at things. But I realized just today how far I have come when I attended a yoga class for the first time in months.

Now I practice yoga on a daily basis and even go so far as to call myself a “yoga devotee”. However this class kicked my ass! Everyone was so far beyond my skill level it wasn’t funny. But you know what? It didn’t bother me the way it would have when I was younger. I was inspired by the others, and I was willing to accept myself where I am in yoga and know that I will improve with practice. YAY! I’ve actually grown!! I am definitely going to check out Steve Farber’s books. These ideas really resonate with me.


Michael M McCurry CMP June 2, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Hi Jenise,

Steve Farber’s books are very inspiring… I have now read all three of them and my brain is so full of ideas I don’t know where to start.

Kudos to you for your devotion to Yoga.. that is awesome.

Thanks for contributing and thanks for your support of my blog!



F.M. Torculas October 24, 2010 at 10:00 am

I enjoyed reading this article and especially appreciated the realistic view about some “wannabe leaders” and I must agree that some leaders are just wearing the title but not really doing enough to support their claims. mile.or.

Great post!!!

F.M. Torculas


Michael M McCurry CMP October 25, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Thanks F.M for the comments.

Walking the talk is the name of the game! Gald you stopped by!



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