Fall in love with the idea of excellence and you’ll be surprised how quickly excellence will find you. When it finds you you’ll be surprised at the doors it opens for you. And they’re not the doors you’re expecting. This concept should be taken seriously because so many people are in the position of feeling dissatisfied with their current employment. And if you’re not sold and are writing this concept off as fluff, let’s just take a second to look at the potential benefits of falling in love with excellence.
Hiring employees into executive leadership positions is not always a crap shoot. Sometimes the perfect person comes along, who is a perfect fit for the job, who is committed and motivated, and is a great leader. The other 99% of the time we hope we’ve hired the right person based on their resume and interviewing skills. How do we improve our odds of selecting and empowering the leaders we want and need?
Comfort, security, and safety are things we all want and should have. However, nothing great ever happened from a place of comfort and safety. Great things happen outside this space, outside the comfort zone. To achieve the comfort, security, and safety we all want we must step outside our comfort zone to get it!
Important late day events that occur when we are fatigued, whether spontaneous or scheduled, can and should be planned for. Putting our most important tasks on the schedule for earlier in the day can, and should be, planned. Don’t overthink the principle. And if it helps, pretend the event you need to conduct under depletion, or choose to conduct under depletion, will cost lives if you fail. And then ask yourself, “If it’s good enough for the battlefield, shouldn’t it be good enough for the boardroom?”
Great leaders set guidelines and hold people accountable to those guidelines. Behavior in our country over the last several years to today has been leaderless and without guidelines or accountability. Outlandish behavior has been, and is being, justified at every turn by people of all colors, creeds, religions, and especially political affiliation.
As I spoke to the CEO of a small technology firm (let’s call him James) about his past leadership struggles, he was having a difficult time understanding how his former employees just couldn’t grasp what was important to him. James hired me to coach him because he did not want to repeat the same mistakes with his young company that he had as a manager at his past jobs. This display of courage, humility, and discipline was a great start. James desperately wanted to get better so there was no doubt in my mind he would. We just had to decide what exactly he needed to get better at.
This is not intended to be a feel-good story. This is a story about leadership and its core meaning. At least its core meaning as I see it. I hope our elected officials and others take heed of people like my friend in Houston, Texas and reflect on their own leadership. It is possible to agree with someone on an issue without fully endorsing every other fiber of their being. It is possible to help someone you disagree with without compromising everything you stand for. Leaders put the well-being of others first, period.
Why do so many companies disregard consistent leadership or professional development training for their employees? I often get asked what makes the Navy SEALS so special or how a company or organization can begin to take on the mindset of Navy SEALS. My first response is to remind them that it is the SEAL TEAMS, which is not a minor distinction. Then, the short answer is simple: there is a culture, a network, of high performance and excellence. The follow up questions are predictable, “But HOW?” It comes down to another short, and simple, answer: training.
In January 2017, I was provided the opportunity to address The Select Group at their Annual Conference. The Select Group is one of the fastest growing technology recruiting firms in the country that puts a premium on leadership and personal and professional growth. To say I was addressing young, hungry professionals is an understatement. The theme of the conference was “3G’s”, Grit, Growth, and Gratitude. I was to address the group in a TED-style talk on personal and professional growth.
I was recently given the privilege of working with the Executive Board (The Board) of the National Basketball Referee’s Association (NBRA). Basketball is among the world’s most popular sports with the National Basketball Association as its standard bearer. Generally acknowledged as one of the most difficult sports to referee, the men and women of the NBRA take on this task under the enormous spotlight of a daily national audience. With this scrutiny comes criticism, second guessing, and in some instances outright hostility from all corners of the viewing spectrum.