You can’t get there from here
An outsider stopped outside a cedar clad country store. Sitting on the weathered porch a wrinkled New Englander eyeballed the flat lander climb out of a shiny SUV. The city slicker called to the quiet observer, “Do you know how to get to I-95?” After a moment of silence he raised an eyebrow and calmly replied, “You can’t get they’ah from here’ah.”
Thursday I met with five young leaders. Most were new to leading their organization. Sitting around the conference table they weren’t sure where they wanted to take their organization. Our conversation reminded me of three basics of leading.
Leaders determine and describe compelling destinations. Success requires more than catchy slogans, banners, and enthusiasm. Leaders know where they are going.
Compelling destinations determine today’s decisions. Some think decisions determine destinations but that’s reactive living. Leaders navigate toward predetermined personal and organizational destinations.
Finally, leading requires courage to dedicate resources, invest credibility, and overcoming resistance.
If you don’t know where you are going, know how to get there, and the courage to step out, don’t expect anyone to follow you.
Unlike wry New Englanders, leaders courageously say, “We can get there’ah from here’ah.”
What can you add to my list of leadership fundamentals?
A mind-blowing precise analysis for a leader to succeed in his planned venture. You can add the time-bound execution plan and the team of trusted, capable people to make it happen with sustainability. All other things can be worked out easily with quality offerings, adequate organization structure, fair policies and system-oriented approach.
You are really crisp and innovative in your writings which would inspire many practitioners to follow your tips.
Dr. Mrunal K. Asher
ITM Business School, Kharghar,
Navi Mumbai, INDIA
Great additions to the list. Nothing like time-bound measurable objectives to create urgency.
I hadn’t thought about team dynamics in this piece. Your comment reminds me of the value of relationships withing the leadership team. I think all work and no fun is a recipe for disaster.
Your kind words are an encouragement to me.
Courage indeed. Leadership is all about self-awareness and not about self-absorption.
Thanks for leaving your first comment. I appreciate it.
You seem to define courage as the ability to know who you are and then to turn outward.
Nicely said. I look forward to hearing more from you.
Best to you,
A strong clarity of purpose attached to a passion to make a difference through their work.
The courage to make the choices and take the actions required to fulfill that purpose.
Self-efficacy …an inner belief that they have the capacity and will to achieve the above.
Regards to you Dan
Great chatting with you today.
Reading your comment brings two ideas into tension. Courage and Self-efficacy. If I believe I have the capacity to achieve what role does courage play?
Thank you for leaving your comment here
Tom owns his own consulting business in Salem, MA
Yes .. they (self-efficacy and courage) are definitely connected by a “tension”. The way I view it self-efficacy is an inner BELIEF, translating that belief into observable ACTION often takes courage. It’s one thing for a leader to believe in his/her capabilities, it’s another thing to turn those beliefs into action.
All of the above…and perhaps…
Vision to see things has they may be, coupled with flexibility and accountability.
Flexibility allows one to adapt to the variances of day to day initiatives while maintaining the long view.
Accountability brings the vision into focus and into here and now action.
And as you repeated ‘compelling’ twice in your observation, I will raise your ante, with ‘presentation, presentation, presentation’.
Thank you for jumping on this and advocating for flexibility and accountability. If I prioritize them I’m hitting on accountability!
I’m “overwhelmed” with your presentation!
Wonderful post !!
I liked the phrase “Leaders navigate toward predetermined personal and organizational destinations.”
A good read!!
Thank you for the good word. I look forward to your future participation.
Here’s Santosh’s garment inductry website: http://www.fibre2fashion.com/
while I accept all that’s been said as valid atributes of leadership, I feel that leaders in the 21st century need to prepare people for different futures and that may mean destinations that no-one knows about yet. To use the Cynefin Framework: it appears that we will be spending a lot more time in the complex quadrant where responses to challenges may require emergent practice. None of us may know what that is, however, leadership will be about preparing the ground for the work to go on and to make it safe to fail as new responses are explored.