"So the next time you read about an overnight success, or a billion-dollar exit, think about what went into that story. Think about the amazing teamwork that it took to will nothing into something. Think about whether you are building a team that can do that. Think about whether you are just trying to replicate the latest and greatest success story…if you are, stop. You can’t believe everything you read in the newspaper. So write your own story."
"For what it’s worth: it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over again."
F. Scott Fitzgerald (via fckrt)
1951 Ferrari 212 Touring Barchetta
Dove hired a forensic artist to draw how women see themselves versus how others see them - the results are moving.
Dove hired a forensic artist to draw how women see themselves versus how others see them - the results are moving
What you want and the story of getting there
If you have something you are excited about achieving, something you really want to do, then you’ve overcome the greatest challenge. Do not forget this when your are in the middle of thick.
The obstacles common in pursuit; doubt, frustration, disillusionment… the failures or mistakes are something to be grateful for. They are just a part of the story of getting there. You are living for the dream! Just by trying, by choosing what you want, by moving in a direction of your choice, even if it’s just for now, even if it’s just the next thing, even if you don’t know if it’s your dream, it’s everything to have made the choice. You will get there, eventually, it’s just a matter of when and how.
It’s one thing to recruit the right people and another to develop talent internally. Following the tech industry lately I’ve seen a lot written about the future being in leaders with social or emotional intelligence. The ability to enable people, not just solve the problem. Some thoughts on doing just that.
1. Take responsibility for your people’s development.
The level of responsibility you take shows in each conversation. Is it as much about teaching as it is tactics? This means paying attention to the persons level of understanding for the business and situation. Talking what, how and why. Paying close attention to not just their competence, but attitudes and perspectives. The fiber of your entire approach says I not only want you to achieve great results, but I want you to develop into a leader. I want you to have an empowered handle on the industry and business that extends beyond your job and into your future.
It can’t be just “we need to hit the numbers”. I can’t tell you how many sales executives think this is leadership… maybe it is the kind that works when somebody is protected by an abundance of resources. Maybe it is when an executive’s major skill is managing up. When they can push off lack of performance to the economy, market, or the employee. Holding people accountable is important, but there’s more to getting the most out of people. It’s taking a passionate interest in their development, both in the business and career.
2. Build your conviction in a person
It starts with your ability to see it in the person and build a case for their potential for yourself. Seeing strengths to build on and the weaknesses to address. Seeing why it matters. Listening and paying close enough attention to develop your confidence in the person. Building a case until you believe and then making the case until they do.
So many base who they mentor on who is performing right out of the gates, who is easy to identify, or who is most like themselves. Why not expand your influence to include everyone you are responsible for? Increase the odds that you find and enable every possible leader. Some of the greatest success stories are owned by the most unlikely of people.
It’s common to see leaders pigeon hole their people, create a case for why what they are capable of is limited. I find this is more a result of the leaders lack of desire or capability to develop people than the actual potential of the person. They don’t see that it’s their limits that create their perspectives. So they get good at other things, maybe find success, but they won’t leave a wake of lives impacted and leaders developed.
3. Teaching implies expectations.
It shows you care and have interest in more than just the numbers.
If you didn’t see the potential in them, why spend all this time and energy teaching? It says I see you, I see you can do this, I see you can become more. What’s more, it says let’s get to work on it now and make sure it happens.
4. See it for your people.
What will it be like for this person to grow and achieve beyond even their own expectations? What will it be like when they start to see themselves and their lives in a larger light? This kind of compassion and empathy will build trust and ensure the right tone. Your intent will come through. It’s easier when they are as much the purpose as the business result. On purpose, off self leadership.
Some have the outlook that there are people who are happy staying the same, or in poorly chosen words, small. They’ve missed the clue’s, they aren’t building a case, they don’t see it in and for. They are that way in the circumstance we created for them. In the least, everyone wants their leader to be a fan.
5. Deal in reality with honesty and respect
Honesty creates velocity in communication, it demonstrates respect, and leads to rapid progress. We are talking both positive and negative transparency. What you think of a person can’t be in question, otherwise you spend an inordinate amount of time petting egos. If they know you are a fan of theirs, that you are a believer, if you have the same purpose, then you can get on with the work and their development. Assuming some level of tact, solidified relationship, and good intentions, saying exactly what you are thinking carries the kind of truth that has real impact. Everyone likes to be treated as an equal.
6. Persist until…
They say I get it, I get it! It takes a tremendous amount of will and passion to build people. A tremendous amount of repetition. Just as the entrepreneur builds their dream, the people builder is relentless in the face of a process full of ups and downs, ebbs and flows, successes and failures. People will disappoint, results and behaviors will regress. It requires consistency, that same kind you may have for your own goals or your companies success, you must have for your people’s development.
Linkedin profiles sometimes offer a glimpse into what companies cultures associate with success. One that stood out is Starbuck’s Coffee, where it’s common to see executives list the numbers of people they developed as achievements. It’s clear that it’s a priority and value of the company. After meeting a founding executive of the company Howard Behar, it’s easy to see why.
There are many ways leaders arrive at success… By being a strategic genius, a product visionary, an operator, or a deal maker. Some are also people builders, held in deep reverence by all those they’ve impacted.
Being on purpose and off self
It’s a concept I’ve thought about for years in regards to when people or teams are at their best. It’s in part an answer for how do you get the most out of yourself, how do you get the life you want? Even the internal life you want? By being on purpose and off self.
Ghanhi addressed in the the grandest sense “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”
In the service of an idea, in the service of a cause, we find our talents and capacity.
Your best performance when only thinking what’s next to make it happen. Not can you or can’t you, will you or won’t you, what will it be like if you do, what it will be like if you don’t. On how it impacts you instead of the simple act itself. Emerson said “Do the thing and you’ll have the power”.
This amounts to all of your focus and capacity on the action, less noise, less thoughts. And if you fail your not thinking why can’t I, why didn’t I, but thoughts are on HOW. How can I make it better, how can I make the next thing happen.
How much confidence is lost, capacity is wasted beating ourselves up? How much is wasted thinking about how you will look, or what will happen to you if do or don’t? It’s easy to see in a public speaker seeking to give a good speech; focus is on how they are doing, gaining approval, or what they look like. The output is a speech in their “professional voice”, we all love those. What would happen if they were on topic, on audience, on purpose? Completely focused on the information and objective? Forgetting themselves in the process of communicating something with passion.
On self thoughts create paralysis, tension, indecision, and frustration.
Leadership: how much time do your people spend trying to please you versus getting the desired results? Are they experts at managing their leaders and mediocre at doing the actual thing? Are they getting good at the job or managing up? I’ve found a tremendous amount of time can be wasted by approval seeking within a company. Powerpoint, meetings, and calls devoted to finding a sense of confidence in the organization, not doing the actual thing.
Teams: as a fan of the NBA I’ve seen On Self thinking break apart amazing teams and partnerships. With players so concerned about being the man, being respected, what the press is saying, what the record books are saying, they make decisions based on this rather than on the purpose of winning.
I’ve seen this take hold in people’s lives. By considering ourselves; our status, respect, past, future, and situation in comparison to others we lose all that we can contribute. Focusing on what we aren’t and don’t have we are wasting energy on considering our circumstance that could be used right now to do the thing. It is challenging because no matter how hard you think ON SELF, nothing happens. Nothing is created by a complex confused state of mind. I’ve been most productive and have found personal happiness when my purpose is clear and my thoughts are on doing what’s next to make it happen. Taking time to reflect is one thing but in a very practical way, how do you DO your life by thinking about yourself?
In part, a life is just an output of our actions. It’s about putting all of our thoughts and capacities on the doing and creating of what you want. Set the goal, solve the problem, learn the skill, make the call, show up. What’s next… to to create deep friendships, a rewarding marriage, to raise healthy happy children, to build a dynamic team, to become apart of your community, to build a great company, to hit this months goals, to run a marathon, to cook dinner? The output is a life.