Posts Tagged ‘stickability

05
Mar
13

chicken little leadership

0923_ChickenLittle_New_UFSGRAYTrue leaders love a crisis. It gives them the chance to go through the fires and be molded into something stronger and more powerful. The masses love to rally around a leader who lays out a clear vision of how to tackle the problem at hand. At least that’s the way it’s supposed to work. I’ve worked for some leaders who do just the opposite. They wring their hands and bemoan the challenges and problems they’ve inherited. I remember thinking, “Dear God, why’d you take this job then?” and “Isn’t that why you’re getting paid so much?”

There will always be problems and seemingly unsolvable crises. Welcome to life and being in charge! But Hell holds a special place for “leaders” who “lead” by manufactured crisis. Paralysis justified by fear mongering gets old; make a decision already! When you keep raising the issue again and again and again with no concrete actions to address the problem, it’s insanity. We want action plans from our leaders at the top. Everyone knows that when mid-level managers try to solve an issue NOTHING happens without the commitment and leadership of the person at the very top.

I’ve addressed this very phenomenon in several organizations. When I was a Commander in the Air Force I had a fellow Commander who wanted to utilize our limited resources from a tactical approach whereas I had to consider the overall strategic implications. We tried to work this out, but were coming at the solution from two very different perspectives. The impasse went on for months and the wing leadership did nothing to resolve the conflict.

I did everything I could within my authority and the regulations to deal with the problem but because I was not the one running the show, the ultimate direction of resources was not up to me. But there does come a time when going off the cliff is the only way to draw attention to an issue and a decision. In fact, several of the organizations I left had the wheels fall off their train before any action was taken. I, like most people, don’t deal well with people in ultimate positions of authority who won’t make decisions.

Leaders are supposed to turn crises into opportunities, not run around screaming “the sky is falling” or crying wolf. Working to gain consensus is okay but, in the end, the leader has to make the decision, make it theirs, and then live and die by it. 

15
May
12

passion makes perfect

Too much practice makes a speech sound canned, an emotion fall flat, an activity seem routine. Don’t practice until you get it right, practice until you can’t get it wrong. You may be wondering if there truly is something you couldn’t get wrong. There sure is: the decisions you make. You say, “I’ve made plenty of wrong decisions!” That’s not exactly true. Once you make a decision you make it yours, you die by it; you stick by it regardless of the odds or outcome. The decision isn’t what’s failed; it’s your commitment to making it work.

Once it’s in your heart, that’s when the decision is complete.  You have the know why, which is the engine that drives the know how.  A dear friend of mine recently shared a story about the time, years ago, when my father had hired him to speak at the close of an insurance company’s day-long program. My friend was not a professional speaker per se, but a lawyer. He accepted the offer since he was not about to tell his mentor “no”. Several days before the speech, my father asked about the upcoming event. My friend replied that he was ready but that he would need to review the presentation one more time. My father looked at him and said there was no need to review, “Either the words are in your heart, or you are not ready.”

When my father was in his final stages of cancer in 2008, he was confined to his hospice bed barely able to speak above a whisper. I made the trek to Pennsylvania from Missouri every weekend during those last three months. I waited patiently for him to discuss the future of the business with me. He never did. He never even asked me if I had thought about coming back and running the company. I could not understand why he didn’t ask.

But then it hit me. If it wasn’t in my heart to come home of my own volition, it wouldn’t be my decision. He knew if he asked I couldn’t say no. But he also knew that when the going got tough, I would be the first to suck my thumb and complain that I had left everything behind and come back at the behest of someone else. You see, when it’s your decision, you’ve got no one else to blame. When it’s your decision, you live and die by it. When it’s your decision, the end result doesn’t matter; it’s your commitment to the decision that matters. Passion is all about the journey, not the destination.

Final results have a funny way of always working out for those who stay the course. Maybe there are some detours along the way, but that’s what adds an element of surprise to all of life’s experiments. If it’s in my heart, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work out because I know I did everything within my power to make it work. And if it doesn’t work out, there’s something greater looming on the horizon that I had better get ready for. In the end, it’ll all work out. If it hasn’t worked out yet, it’s not the end.

So keep on living life tremendously. If there is passion in your heart, you can’t possibly get it wrong.




Tremendous Tracey


CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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