I've come to learn that fear is an indicator of what you need to do next and failure just means your learning. Successful people fail often and learn more from failure than anyone else.
I'm not a hunter but I've tagged along on a few hunts. They were very eye-opening. I plan to go on my very first hunt soon and I'm looking forward to the experience of becoming more human and procuring my own food.
You can impart remarkable service that will set your products and services completely apart from every other in your market. It's possible because you are unique, creative, and capable of making friends.
It's going to cost you though. You're going to have to care more...a lot more. But, here are three reasons why you have no choice:
1. Remarkable Service Makes You Remarkable.
2. Remarkable Service Makes You Trustworthy.
3. Remarkable Service Makes You Better.
Remarkable customer service has to be part of your strategy. If you're going to "get around to it" you never will. Make a plan and start leading by example. Live it with your example before you make a power point presentation about it.
My favorite author Seth Godin sits down with Jonathan Fields to discuss books, business, life, art, being stuck, pressing forward, and quitting. All the the inspiring things I like to talk about with my friends, family, 4-H'ers, and colleagues.
I'm particularly fond of sentences that start with, "You should..."
Actually, the truth is...I'm not. Neither should you. I recall a moment when I should on a coworker. I said "You should develop this product line." He replied, "I should do a lot of things."
I know what I would do in a situation, but I'm not you...and you're not me. I know, you know, and we all know that each of us would do different things in a given situation. So let it be, or present it in a different way. When you should-on someone you're just stressing them out. We are all busy and have tremendous workloads these days.
If you really believe in your idea and you're not just spouting off some worthless idea, then here's an alternative to dropping a big should on someone:
"I think this (insert your idea) would be a good idea, would you be interested in working on it with me?"
Paul Mitchell the School has a great culture. For the most part, creative students are excited to be there and they all have a million ideas for marketing, service, parties, events, hair styles etc. When a student comes up to a learning leader with a great idea and begins to should on them, the reply is, "Would you like to be the 'Creative Master' over this project?"
The ball gets passed back to the person with the idea to work on. If it's really worth it then they'll make it happen and hopefully ask for help. Ideas are great, we all have ideas, but it takes hard work to make them happen a reality...hard work that most people are not willing to do.
It's critical to be mindful that the people you lead come from all different faiths and backgrounds. I think as leaders we need to be reminded of this because we can forget and think ourselves above others.
A great way to ruin a relationship is by ignorantly attacking what someone else believes. Here's an example of how not to do it:
I'm going to bet that Brandon Flowers has forgiven Richard Dawkins by now. What if they worked together? What if Richard was Brandon's manager?
After this uncomfortable exchange do you think Brandon would look forward to coming to work and collaborating with Richard? Do you think he's going to enjoy sharing his ideas in meetings with him?
Here's some advice: Don't be a bonehead.
I wish managers would actually take the opportunity to lead and not focus on who's right and who's wrong. Imagine if their focus was on building bridges, coming together, and focusing on common ideas, interests, and beliefs. This is how one moves people forward in a position of leadership.
The point is not to focus on what divides us, but rather what brings us together. Management must not think themselves above their employees. Focus should be on leading and seeking that higher ground so they can lift others up. At the heart of what they do must be service - giving, serving, coaching, and providing an example of how they want their people to lead, follow, and work. People will follow your example over what you say.
I challenge you to be openminded of what other people believe, or don't believe for that matter. We are so fortunate to live in a country where we have this right and we should never take it for granted. Besides, listening to what others believe does not mean you have to believe it too. Take the next opportunity you get to share what you believe with someone, find out what values you share and what principles you agree on.
Chances are you have more in common than you thought.
Fear is a motivator that works, that is why it is so often used - knowingly and unknowingly. Fear-based leadership is a style that derives from one's need for control.
This flavor of control is often justified as a means to protect people. This was the driving force behind Ra's al Ghul's
In the Dark Knight Rises, the new villain Bane shares in Ra's vision for the destruction of Gotham City and is driven to fulfill his original mission. [Caution: Spoiler Alert!]
Bane displayed very effective fear-based leadership tactics. He was intimidating, terrifying, articulate, and manipulative. We also learn he was well connected with Miranda Tate.
For most of the film, the audience is lead to believe Bane is the sole leader in the takeover of Gotham City. However, after Miranda Tate reveals herself as Talia al Ghul, the daughter of Ra's al Ghul, we understand that only through their twisted alliance could Bane actually accomplish taking control of Gotham City. Talia was the true mastermind.
Nevertheless, Bane's leadship skills should not be discounted. In the film he is referred to as just a "Mercenary," a hired gun. But what did he bring to the table? Ah yes, human resources.
Bane organized and lead a sizeable battalion. He did so by manipulating them. He sought out the desperate, strung them along, giving them a false sense of power and security. He used this battalion to strategically plant bombs throughout Gotham and with Talia's backing, seized control of Wayne Enterprises. He eventually went on to release all the inmates in Gotham's prison - arming and organizing them to combat the Gotham City Police Department. He inspired the prisoners by manipulating them. He used Commissioner Gordon's statements, the truth behind the real Harvey Dent, to unite them against a common enemy who brought them to justice.
Bane understood how to harness the power of vengeance and create order out of chaos. There are really two aspects to his leadership style:
In business, if a leader's attention turns from "How can I do the right thing for employees and customers?" to "How can I keep my job, status, and control?" then fear is this leader's weapon of choice.
If you can answer YES to a majority of these questions, then fear-based leadership is rife in your organization:
An organization that hires intelligent people, setting them loose to solve real-world will be a successful and innovative leader in its industry. Fear-ridden employees only try to maintain the status quo, they don't discover innovative solutions. This is easy to see. Yet, fear-based leadership is difficult to break because cogs don't speak up, they stay quiet and keep their heads down - while this is convenient, it's not sustainable.
The truth about fear-based leadership is that it stems from a lack of self confidence. In addition, a fear-based manager, like Bane, has profound anxiety about making a wrong decision and is afraid of what others will think if he makes a poor decision. Did you see how scared he was when Batman returned from the prison in Asia? Yeah, he screwed up! Big time! He underestimated his competition because he was enjoying the glory of his thousands for scared, obedient minions.
Fear-based leadership really isn't leadership at all. It doesn't move an organization over obstacles and into a sustainable position for the future. It's actually the opposite of leadership because with it there is no vision, innovation is stifled, and obsoleteness emerges.
To be an effective leader, you have to earn everyone’s respect every single day. You do this by serving, supporting, and making sacrifices for your teammates. You must position yourself on higher ground in order to lift others up. Leadership is stepping up, taking action, and inspiring others to work alongside you.
I'm still surprised when I'm talking to grown adults that are so concerned about following "the rules." They have a great idea and want to do something amazing, but feel like they need to get permission because they don't want to "get in trouble."
As I dialogue with such nervous folks I try to find out what they're so scared of. Often, it turns out they're afraid of some unlikely consequence...like accountability if their plan/project fails.
So what! You failed, you learned, now move on. Don't be ashamed to fail. I used to avoid hard classes in school because I was afraid I would fail. So I took classes I knew I could get an A in. "A" huge mistake that now I regret! It wasn't just school, I avoided going on hikes in scouts because I was afraid I couldn't keep up. I missed many great adventures because I played it too safe.
The race to the bottom is easy to win. Everyone at the bottom chose to be there because they played it safe. They were too scared to break "the rules," to "get in trouble," to "fail."
"Failure is not falling down, but refusing to get up." - Chinese Proverb
Thus, failure is a choice...Get over it!
I recently used this metaphor with a 4-H youth leadership group. They thought it made simple sense and we had a deep discussion about the 5 things to be a great pencil afterwards.
The pencil maker took the pencil aside, just before putting it into the box.
"There are five things you need to know before I send you out into the world," he said. "Always remember these five things, and you'll be a great pencil.
ONE: You are capable of many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in someone's hand.
TWO: You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, but you'll need it to become a better pencil.
THREE: You have the ability to correct the mistakes you make.
FOUR: The most important part of you will always be what's inside.
FIVE: On every surface where you are used, regardless of its condition,
you must leave your mark.
The pencil understood and promised to remember.
It’s a always a helpful reminder to make a list and check it twice.
I recently read Atul Gawande's Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right. I must agree with the author, tragic mistakes can be sharply reduced with just 3 things:
I happen to use the iPhone Reminder App...and I use it daily.
I learned from Gawande that, “The volume and complexity of what we know has exceeded our individual ability to deliver its benefits correctly, safely, and/or reliably.”
It's hard to count on people. Can you relate? A select few I know I can always count on to follow through - they are the exception, not the rule. If you want to be a leader here's some advice:
For so many years I have made To Do Lists, or simple Checklists, to keep myself on track so I don’t forget basic basic tasks that I meant to do, but for some reason just omitted. I write down No-Brainer tasks which are STUPID but CRITICAL. I’ve been criticized for listing such mundane tasks, but simply stated, “It really helps me to remember to get it right!”
I can’t stand it when I don’t do something that is very easy, just because I had too much on my mind to remember to do it.
The excuses are endless: “It takes too much time to make a list,” or “What’s the point? If I forget to do something, then it wasn’t worth remembering.”
The truth is, checklists only take a few minutes to create and they have the potential to keep you on track for your entire workday. In addition, people (especially those who rely on you) really appreciate it when you do the things you say you will do (add your Ethos to the checklist while you’re at it).
Here's a thought, if your To-Do List gets too long, consider a Not Right Now List.
I figure if Pilots and Surgeons utilize checklists to get their jobs done, perhaps those of us serving in positions of leadership ought to follow suit.