Leadership- The critical difference May 28, 2006Posted by humairah in Learning from personalities.
By Brian Tracey
Staying in the zone
Remember, in order to become a leader, you start with an 'A'. Now all you have to do, is keep it. If you've been eating a lot of junk (out of the zone), you're just one step away from the right zone- Eat a healthy meal. Similarly, in order to become a leader, all you have to do is work hard to keep your 'A'- You already have it.
The qualities of leadership
Clarity of vision
Leaders have vision. They can see the future, and they have a long-time perspective. They have the ability to visualise an ideal future. Everyone close their eyes, imagine this room goes into a time warp. 5 years later, you open your eyes. Something wonderful has happened- Your whole life has been perfected. All your dreams have been fulfilled, and all your goals have been achieved- What would it look like? Where would you be? Who would you be with? How well would you be doing? How much would you be earning? How fit would you be? What would your children be like?
This a critical question to answer, because:
1. 5 years have passed, and this is what you'd be.
2. If you're absolutely clear on what you want, you'd be exponentially closer to your goals 5 years from now in reality.
Strategic intent: Where would you want to be in 5-10 years. What kind of a person would like to be?
If you can define that today, you develop long term perspective.
Clarity is very important. Unlike Columbus- when he reached America, he didn't know where he was. When he got back, he didn't know where he went. And this is how most people are when they goto work. A successful person is like an arrow. He knows where he's heading. He can see the direction.
Think about the future
Leaders think about the future. This is one of the characteristics of superior people. Average people think about reading the paper, watching TV, and so on.
Emerson said you can tell how big you are by the type of things that irritate you- such as, the candy on your pillow, or the government corruption. What pre-occupies you?What are your values? What do you stand for? What do you believe in?
Recent studies show they know who they are. You don't need to tell them. Non-leaders are a little bit to the left, or to the right.
Leaders have a mission- It's the galvanising force in your life. A mission is your ideal future condition. You are the president for your own company, and you need a mission for your own life.
'I am an outstanding professional in my field. I'm the best amongst my team. I am intensely service oriented. I'm liked and looked up by all those around me.' Keep comparing yourself to your mission. Leaders set very high standards for themselves. Am I living upto the best that is in me? Your mission is to do something best with your life. You can hold up your mission and keep comparing yourself to it. You just need to use a fraction of all the potential that God has given us to make a difference around us.
Courage and character
Courage, to fulfill the vision. A German philosopher once said, 'you can develop any charactererstic in solitude except for character'.
To develop character, you need to be out there in the world- Face everything- poverty, ridicule, tests, ups and downs, losses…
Michael Jordon said, 'Just do it'. Once you have a goal, and a plan, and a purpose and a mission, just do it.
Most people are just tuckers. Illusioners. Procrastinators.
Everyone has fear- but the question is, would you act inspite of it?
The very best people in every field are the most fastidious in their field.
The power of 'How!'
Losers always say, 'I wonder if it'll work?'
Winners always say, 'How?'- That's the only question. That's gotta be your mantra.
Low performers always say, 'What if it doesn't work?'
A superior person will say, 'what if it does??'
6th most important person in history is Sir Isaac Newton, who changed the face of the world in his century was asked several times, 'how is it that you have accomplished so much in so less time?' And one of his best answers was, 'If I've accomplished anything in my life, is it not because I'm smart' [by the way, smart people are never impressed with their smartness, only stupid people are] ' but because I have stood on the shoulders of giants'.
The dwarf who stands on the shoulders of giants can see further than the giant. Cott Myerrs spent 64 years studying success. His advise about the most important person was, 'learn from the experts'. Constantly ask yourself, 'what if it works?' And once you know it works, just do it.
Taking risk and going boldly
The future belongs to the risk takers. It doesn't belong to comfort seekers. Who boldly come out of their comfort zone. A rule goes, successful are not the ones that make the right decision, but rather those who make their decisions right.
You cannot know if your target is correct unless you fire. Hence, when you start the work, feedback will come and you will improve yourself. But you cannot adjust your course before the missile is fired.
The importance of integrity
Integrity is the most desired quality of leadership. It's not a quality by itself, but rather, it's a quality that guarantees other qualities. If you have vision and mission, and integrity, then you know that your goals are not just theoretical.
Trust is the most important principle in business. Business people have to be impeccably honest in what they have to deal with, because you are dealing with money. That's why, if honesty did not exist, it would have to be invented as the surest way of getting something right. Integrity is like being pregnant- either you are, or you aren't. There isn't anything like 'a little bit of integrity'.
The reality principle
Jack Welch, the hidden CEO of GE (and he learnt this from Peter Drucker)- In every single case the only question he asks is, 'what is the reality?' What's the truth? You must be perfectly real. See the world as it is, not as you wish it could be. Look @ it honestly.
A person who can admit his mistakes is a strong person. How can you grow if you don't know your weaknesses? People don't grow because they don't face the fact that they have weaknesses. In fact, strong people have far more weaknesses than strengths. Be honest with yourself. Do not be in denial and disillusioned. If people say something, look at it, it may be true and help you improve yourself.
You cannot teach your children everything, so if you will, teach them to always speak the truth. Raising children lasts for decades, if not for generations. 'If your children lie, who has made them afraid to tell the truth?' It takes kids a long time to learn this. But keep hammering it over and over again. Because of the types of problems around teens- drugs, sex, schools- they need to tell the truth to their parents, and that's what they find the most difficult. Do not allow a compromise. A compromise to the truth is cancer. A pest.
Commitment is the catalyst
Leaders have very high levels of commitment. Commitment is a catalyst that activates and energises the internal and external resources of the organisation.
General Norman Schwarzkopf was responsible for the defeat of the 4th largest army in the world by the second largest army in 100 hours- The lowest casualty rates ever.
They told Bush and Powell that we have decided to let the commander do the take. He spent 6 months planning the battle because he wanted to lead his army to victory
The leader says, 'I am responsible'. He doesn't get upset or angry. No excuses, no blaming or critisising. As Harry Truman once said, 'the buck stops here'- No passing on to someone else. You have the FREEDOM to choose your attitude.
This is the mark of a superior person. Brian Tracey is working on a book on this topic in fact. This is the ability to focus your critical energies on the most vital results required. This is numero uno. If you have all the other skills, but cannot concentrate like a laser beam, it's of no use.
– Leaders focus on the needs of their situation. Weaker people focus on their personal needs. Me, me, me.
– Leaders set priorities on their use of resources. Such as time.
– Leaders focus on strengths: in themselves, their people, their situation. Non-leaders focus on their weaknesses. Strengths are like gold, you have to get them out of the ground in order to use them. What strengths do you have to make a difference in this world?
Leaders are committed to excellence performance of the business task, nothing less. Peter Drucker has spent 50 years on studying executive systems. The quality of effective executive is, they're absolutely ruthless, demanding, uncompromising about their work. You cannot possibly be fastidious without being excellent. Most people say, 'that's good enough'. Malcolm Forbes had a one liner some years ago, he wrote, 'Good enough seldom is'. Good enough is an attitude of poison. It's NEVER good enough. Perhaps today, but for tomorrow it has to be better.
– Leaders must choose an area of excellence
– Leaders focus and develop essential core competencies. Core competencies are skills that you develop to achieve your areas of excellence.
Time is going to pass anyways- Pass it by excelling.
Leaders illicit extraordinary performance in other people. How do you it? Be the leader you are looking for. Set an example. Did you ever try to push a string? Peter said, 'the number one thing that people can do, is set an example'- Walk the talk, and people will rise to leadership.
Always ask this question to yourself everyday, 'What kind of a world would this be, if everybody else would be like me?' And then, 'What kind of a country would this country be if everyone in it, would be just like me?' 'What kind of a company would this be, if everyone in it, would be just like me?' And finally, 'what kind of a family would this be, if everybody in it would be just like me?'
Honest people are inordinately sensitive to their own shortcomings.