“It’s the best possible time to be alive, when almost everything you thought you knew is wrong.”
–Valentine (from Tom Stoppard’s play Arcadia)
Are you a leader?
Interesting query to consider (unless your name resides at some elevated level on your company org chart, in which case you might jump to an affirmative response). But…I’d be cautious.
It’s been my observation that a decent percentage of the individuals whose names reside in the loftier boxes don’t do much leading at all. Many are simply managing their position and their area(s) of responsibility. They aren’t really adding value much beyond ‘going through the [expected] motions’.
Because you’re reading this, I would imagine that this either does NOT apply to you, OR you’re actively seeking a different way of thinking and doing.
So…what does it honestly mean to lead?
In order for you to lead, another must follow.
Whether or not to follow is a CHOICE made by every individual involved.
Making a choice to follow involves subscribing to the influence of the leader.
Therefore, to be an effective leader, you must be a master influencer.
Whether you are a leader (or not) has NOTHING to do with where your name resides on an organizational chart.
If you’d like tactical HOW TO insights for massively leveraging your ability to influence, I give them to you in Video 2 of the 3-part Next Generation Performance Improvement Series that I just released. I highly recommend you watch the video (it’s much more fun than reading a bunch of text). You can access the entire series HERE. It’s pure learning AND it’s 100% FREE.
You Must Transcend
I trust you now understand why your ability to influence is so important. However, to be an effective leader in today’s environment, you also MUST transcend any old-school thinking that might still be hanging around in your mindset, your perspectives, and/or your behaviors.
Why is this critical?
To illustrate, let’s pull out to the 100,000-foot level for the moment, and look at a couple of enterprise-level trends.
The term “B Corp” is relatively new. The first “mass use” of the designation was in December 2007, when King Arthur Flour added the designation to their packaging.[i] I first heard about it this past August in my altMBA program.
The term has been coined to identify for-profit organizations with a ‘holistic’ operational focus; a focus that includes all stakeholders, the company’s social impact, and the environment. Awarded such status by B Lab, more than 20 states in the US, as well as many other countries, have passed legislation regarding such corporate legal status. [ii]
A bunch of ‘politically correct’ bru-ha-ha?
Well, time will reveal all; however, as best I can tell, the intentions are honorable and the trend is accelerating.
At the time of this writing, there are 1,895 “Certified B Corporations across 130 industries in 50 countries. While this may appear tiny compared to the number of for-profit corporations on the planet, this number is up 57.9% since April 2015. [iii]
Another example of currently successful ‘movements’ is documented in Firms of Endearment, published to detail the results of a 5-year study (2008-2012), which looked at companies whose operations serve to bring the interests of all stakeholders (shareholders, employees, workers, suppliers, and society) into strategic alignment.
The stock performance of the 28 publicly traded US companies so identified performed 14.3 times better than the S&P 500 during the 15-year period (ending in 2012). And get this- they performed 6.39 times better than those highlighted in Jim Collin’s famous Good to Great study! [iv]
Perhaps Deming is [once again] proven correct- [properly applied and aligned] quality and profitability DO go hand in hand…
Why do I bring these examples to your awareness?
They represent strong current trends that transcend old ways of thinking and doing.
So…what does this have to do with you and your ability to effectively lead?
Many have been taught (and learned) aspects of so-called “leadership” along the way that flat out no longer work.
For example, in 1973, Robert Ringer wrote the book, Winning Through Intimidation. It spent three months on the NY Times bestseller list, and was named by the Times as, “One of the 15 Bestselling motivational books of all time.” [v]
“Winning” through intimidation…really?!
Albeit, the title is a bit misleading relative to the actual context of the book. However, the title STILL [unfortunately] represents the mindset of many in positions of authority.
To transcend means to rise above, to triumph over the negative or restrictive aspects of what ‘has been’.
Transcendent organizations are leading the business world- in responsibility, in innovation, in profits.
Transcendent Leaders will be those who lead their teams, departments, facilities, and enterprises to levels of Reliability, Efficiency, Productivity, and Safety (REPS) never before achievable.
The place is here. The time is now.
People CHOOSE to follow.
Will you choose to truly LEAD?
I’d love to hear your comments…
Until next time,
P.S. In Part 3 of this blog series, I’m going to walk you through the ‘formula’ for rapidly achieving (and sustaining) next-level performance. If you’d like to watch it (instead of read it), I detail each of its elements in Video 3 of the Generation PI series.
P.P.S. If you took a look at the REPS Report, you’re aware that challenges are likely being created within your organization by efforts to improve performance- opposing priorities and conflicting agendas. These self-imposed challenges, of course, are then piled onto the day-to-day ‘fires’ and constraints offered up by your external environment.
If you read the Report, you should also be aware of the solution (to essentially ALL of it). (if not, you can find it starting on page 27).
[ii] Network for Business Innovation and Sustainability (October 2012). B Corporations, Beneﬁt Corporations and Social Purpose Corporations: Launching a New Era of Impact-Driven Companies(PDF). NBIS. p. 2.
[iii] http://bcorporation.eu/; 03 October, 2016
[iv] Firms of Endearment; by Rajendra Sisodia and Jagdish N. Sheth; copyright 2014; Pearson Education
[v] Winning Through Intimidation, by Robert Ringer; copyright 1973; Robert Ringer