Only Fools Never Change
I worked for a boss who greedily grabbed the good projects and gave garbage jobs to others. She was a real go-getter who came in early and stayed late. I learned she was:
- Looking out for number one. It was all about her, even when she was being helpful.
- Distrustful. Her distrust made others reluctant to take risks.
- Fearful. Disagreements were always taken personally.
- Manipulative and easily manipulated by office gossips. Her fear that something bad might get to her boss created paranoia.
She knew how to get the job done so the boss kept her around, even though the office, for the most part, despised her.
The trouble with greedy go-getters is they get the job done.
The leadership journey is dotted with switchbacks and profound shifts in thinking. Growing leaders think one way at the beginning and another at the end.
Wise leaders say, “I used to think…, but now I realize…”
Only fools never change.
Switchbacks in leadership thinking:
- Finding solutions to finding problems.
- Spotlighting self to spotlighting others.
- Making statements to asking questions.
- Heads down to heads up; from small picture to big.
- Enjoying credit for self to giving credit to others.
Bob Burg explains a counter intuitive leadership-switchback in his book, “The Go-Giver.”
Focus on giving more than getting.
Go-getters do well. Go-givers do better! Great leaders are go-getters when it comes to giving. The first law of the go-getters is the law of value:
Your true worth is determined by how much more
you give in value than you take in payment.
The last law protects go-giving from martyrdom.
The key to effective giving is
to stay open to receiving.
Jack Welch said, “Great leaders have a generosity gene.”
What shifts in thinking have you had on your leadership journey?
Bonus material: PDF of all Five Laws of the Go-Giver.
Buy: “The Go-Giver.”
Very true, not changing means insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results”. Which is one of my favorite quotes, because it makes very clear that continuous improvement is crucial to survive: http://www.benlinders.com/2010/insanity/
Thanks Ben. Not changing only seems like insanity when we look back. Not changing looks like endurance and persistence while we are in the middle of it.
I guess the tricky part is learning when to persist and when to change course.
ONe way we may be able to face the “trickey” part is listening to and learning from those who share are values and have more experience.
Exactly, you need some heuristics / rulse of thumb for that!
Agree. This is similar to how I look at pivoting in Lean Startup: Persevere in your beliefs and the goals that you want to reach, but change the way you will get there whenever needed. Be flexible in the journey.
love the idea of adapting methods rather than beliefs and goals.
I’ll add, I’ve found many belief’s I’ve had about leadership have also changed.
If u are so sure of the answer why would a thorough examination disturb you?
SP relentless pursuit of the truth
Love that you point out “the trouble with greedy go-getters”! Also, your new header. Is that a new header? Love it.
Bosses who have a laser-focus on results seem effective because they accomplish their objective. Never be fooled into thinking they’re accomplishing the /mission/ of your organization. There may be ten great performers under one greedy go-getter, but we refuse to let them out of the shadows by promoting that back-stabbing, self-promoting, “hard-working” glory-stealer.
Things look different from the bottom than they do from the top. As leaders, we have an obligation to seek out character and commit to the good of the team– even if it means reining in or losing a top producer.
Great wisdom Justin. Thank you.
One problem ambitious managers/leaders have is spending too much time managing up and not enough staying connected with those below.
RE the header… I went back and dug out an old one. 🙂 Thanks for the good word.
Think Fullback, strength and agility with the goal line always in focus.. Never injure a team mate! 🙂
Had visions of fullbacks running over teammates. Great illustration… thanks.
Leader as blocker is an interesting way to think about leadership.
Well accepting, admitting and willingly going along with change, or not, that seems to be the question.
We are all changing every second as we evolve as spiritual beings having a human experience! Who knows today might actually be the day our 21st strand of DNA switches on! How exciting would that be? Wonder what kind of stuff we will be able to do with that 21st strand we can’t do now? Be AWARE of wonder, or don’t!!!!! hehe
My G word is Geocentrism…..means belief that the Earth is the Center of the Universe!!!!!!!!!!!! I thought it was little ole ME!!!!!
The Great Scott….Ruler of the Universe!!!! Ah did not weork out so good, so I went along with a change!
Just goes to show those interested in becoming AWARE that it IS NOT what you do not know, it is what you know that just ain’t so.
Did ya’ll know they, they being the religious leaders of the day, put Galeleo under house arrest for saying the Earth revolved around the Sun! Yep! Dudes wanted to stifle knowledge for sumptin! Silly wabbitts!
That concept was a very stark example of a paradigm shifting, you know realizing we are revolving around the Sun! Cool, huh?
Every GREAT idea starts out as blasphemy…Bertrand Russell
Kinda sorta like Truly Human Leadership…..allegedly!
Thanks Dan, have a great day, I AM!
SP back in the fight, bringing my light everywhere I go! ps I have learned working with other drunks, the more I give the more my HP gives me to do. Works exactly the same way with people not allergic to alcohol I have discovered.
Love the idea that great ideas start as blasphemy. I know that many ideas I used to think were foolish…I now think are wise… Cheers!
Well thanks D!
Apparently I am on the right track with a non transparent thumbs downer!
Seems I got a reaction that caused them to take action and bit the thumbs down.
Just wish they would bring their angst out into the light
Maybe this would HP them with their annoying attachment !!!! Hehe
I like that you point out that it’s ok to change your way of thinking along the leadership journey. That is healthy and expected because gaining new knowledge and learning helps us grow and change and adjust our perspectives.
Incremental change occurs when we improve or add to what we already know. Exponential change happens when we learn something that invalidates what we thought was right.
I can’t count the shifts. There for a time it was bad boss after bad boss. You know, the type that screams and belittles and expects more than realistically possible without setting success goals. Great post! What happened to the next letter? It’s weird to look back and reflect on how one once thought.
I think sharing our shifts in thinking may be our greatest contribution to young leaders.
This was “G” .. actually double “G” .. Go-giver. Tomorrow is “H” but I don’t know which one, yet.
I like what Muhammad Ali said:
“A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.”
Change is part of growth. From larvae to butterfly. Being a go-giver is a great way to look at success. I like your statement about giving more value than taking in payment. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that value is more than money. Thanks for the thoughts!
Thanks Anthony. Glad you point out that value is more than money! As a leader, I’m striving to bring value to people.
I recently have been focusing on “Servant Leadership” in my presentations. If you haven’t explored this yet, it is right on with this article. There is a Servant Leadership linked in group and over 5,000 books and 20 million hits. Bev Rosen
Love “servant leadership.” I think “servant” is the best metaphor for a leader!
The situation reminds me of a story: Two caterpillars are chatting and a beautiful butterfly floats by. One caterpillar turns to the other and says,
“You’ll never get me up on one of those butterfly things!”
I use this to kick off my LEARNING EXPERIENCE thinking about the answer to this story. The real punchline is, “It’s dangerous to know The Answer” because I have twenty answers to the joke above. I just posted up this framework in a blog post on dealing with and supporting change.
The VERY BEST ANSWER (so far) is; “My mother was a moth!”
I’m afraid I’ve made a few of those, “I’ll never get up in one of those things” statements. I hate it when the people who irritate me end up being right! 🙂
Thanks for the post. We all know that change is the one constant in life, but personal change is often the hardest. As I currently get ready for Disaster Training in China and have to get all my presentation subject material and PPTs approved ahead of time by the government, this has proven one of my largest challenges for personal change. Do I fight it, or remember that it is not about me to begin with and has always been about those I am trying to help who are at a very different level and live in a very different context? Am I willing to put in the tons of extra hours to get it the way they want it and conduct in a way that will be more beneficial for them regardless of how much it may be out of my comfort zone? I do think it is worth it to step back and do the right thing. Good reminder for all of us…
Thanks for sharing your story Randy.
I can hear others who deal with bureaucracy, red tape, and meddling bosses, chiming in.
Congrats on working through your distaste for getting approval from governmental authorities. Best wishes!
There’s an excellent book on the subject of working with different cultures and styles that might be helpful…Cross-Cultural Servanthood by Duane Elmer. It sounds like you are on the right track thinking to put in the extra effort to meet their needs in their way….the payoff will be a much improved working relationship!
Thanks Dan and JJ, I have many books on culture, etc… and live in Asia. I always love to add to my collection though and get other’s points of view. I will check this book out.
I built my own consulting/engineering business on all that junk that those greedy bosses didn’t want to handle and would push away. Allowed me to retire in just 10 years and go do something else. It seems that you only find one plum in each sack of lemons!
Do what others don’t want to do… and do it well… great advice. 🙂
For me, the true reward of your leadership efforts is seeing that employees under you is respecting you and is highly influenced by your character and morale.
Admitting your errors is not a sign of weakness but a sign of bravery on your part. Accepting that you don’t know everything but you’re willing to learn for the greater good of your organization.
Thanks and it’s so true … feeling respect from others is gratifying.
Enjoyed all your contributions folks! I have learnt a lot. On that ‘servant-leadership’, Jesus said He came to serve! And it takes a great person to take that stance of leadership, it takes a lot of ability, humility and all you advocating this are on the path to even more greatness! I have found that ‘servant-leadership’ is motivating and doesn’t wear out those under you.
So much truth in so few words. Thank you.
Such a great twist and extension on Greenleaf and Servant Leadership. Thanks, as always, Dan!