The coffee stain in the carpet (pictured above) illustrates the point…
Last week we looked at the topic of “making mistakes” in leadership. This was prompted by a question asked of me, “If you ever were to write a book on leadership, what would be the title?”
As mentioned last week, my response was immediate, “I would call it ‘1,001 Mistakes, and How to Avoid Them.’”
Someone asked me the following question, “If you ever were to write a book on leadership, what would be the title?”
My response was immediate, “I would call it ‘1,001 Mistakes, and How to Avoid Them.’”
Here is what I meant by that answer…
In leadership, mistakes are inevitable. And yet the reality is that mistakes are very valuable. There are valuable because they can cost a lot; they can be painful (and usually are); they are memorable (pain is like that); and most importantly, because we can learn a lot from our mistakes.
Last week I met with members of a Board of Directors who oversee an organization that governs many millions of dollars in assets. As we talked, one of the Directors said, “It is so hard to hear people complain when we are doing the very best we can on behalf of our organization [with this recent project]”
My response: “By analogy, as Directors you are like the quarterback(s) of a football team …because you receive more of the credit - and more of the blame - than you deserve of either one.”
What follows in response to a report that was in the news last week.
According to the journalist who wrote the article, and who was provided a written copy of the speech by officials close to the leader, a major international governmental leader gave a speech about an issue facing their Country. In the relatively short speech, the leader used the words, “I,” “me,” or “my” over 195 times.
What is the most valuable asset we could ever possess? The answer proposed by an increasing drumbeat of television ads is “precious metals”…after all, as we are continuously reminded by such ads, these are volatile times. And as if that wasn’t enough, the litany of similar messages with a variety of “urgent” issues and postulated answers continues daily regarding that which we should consider “most valuable.”
Yet maybe the most obvious answer is ticking away as we read: time.
As those of us who live in America celebrate Independence Day on the 4th of July, it causes me to pause and reflect on the bravery of those who have preserved our freedoms through service in the military as well as those who protect us here at home by serving as First Responders.
My encouragement to those of us who have leadership influence is that during this week let’s each find one or more ways to honor our military or first responders.
As we all know, leadership can be exhilarating as well as challenging. One thing it is not: boring!
And such a wide spectrum of experiences, challenges, joys and sorrows that come with leadership – and the emotions generated at each juncture – can wear down even the most robust personality. Therefore, it can be a good discipline for those in leadership to “pull the plug” from time to time.
Here are some ideas on what that can look like:
We have now been selected each year since 2010 – that’s five years in a row – and it’s down-right-humbling! Copied below is some of the language from the announcement we received:
June 13, 2014
In the role of leadership it is certainly important to know when and how to affirm the efforts and achievements of those we serve. Doing so provides a means of honoring those who are committed to the mission and the team.
The key is to know that affirmation is “confirming the truth or the validity of an action.” Therefore the key is to be observant and to “catch people doing something right” – and then to point it out.