“Everything Rises and Falls on Leadership.”
John Maxwell is where I heard this first, although I imagine somebody else down through the ages has said it too…probably many people.
Human nature has been in place since there’s been human beings, and leadership has mattered since human’s started organizing with purpose.
Anyway, it’s easy to see the truth in this if you pay attention.
Organizations that have good leadership do well in the long run, and one’s without, don’t last, as a general rule.
The Most Sustainable Organizations Develop Leaders.
And they come in all different flavors. True sustaining leaders share several things, one being they have the heart to serve and develop people. I know that there are “leaders” who are power and authority based and do not have this heart, and that’s why I used the word sustainable. Everything I teach and do, is with the long game in mind.
How the leaders develop, is a matter of understanding the process and then consistently working through it with the people in the organization who self-select into leadership.
You cannot microwave leadership development.
This process is applicable to any kind of organization, whether it is a corporation or a network of independent representatives.
The First Step Is…
Bringing in the people to do the work that have the various skills needed and are good fits for your culture. Depending on the nature of your work, one might be more important than the other at first.
In my case, since I lead teams of independent reps, the “fit” matters more than the skill. I can teach the skills of our work, fundamentally they are pretty simple. But I cannot teach someone how to be nice, have integrity, or to be respectful at heart. They have to bring this already or there is no amount of skill that will matter in my work.
As a general rule 80% of the people in your organization will not care about climbing the ladder so to speak. Their goals are more centered outside of the work and the work is a means to an end.
Cherish these people, because they are doing a large amount of the work. You nurture them, make them aware of how important their role is, and invest in helping them become more competent, teach them life skills, make them feel cared for, and that they belong. In essence you nurture this group.
The interesting thing, is that 100% of people start in the initial levels in life, so while these 80% like things the way they are, the other 20% comes out of these considering the entire pool from the beginning.
Some, as they grow, develop, and trust you more, begin to see a higher potential for themselves, and given your support, start to aspire to go to the next level (this shift can also be inspired by changes in their life).
The Second Step…
This is where the people who aspire for more are then moving up to higher positions. In an employee setting this may be a supervisor/manager position, and in an independent rep organization, this would be starting to build a team.
While this is a leadership position in either regard, this doesn’t mean these are significant leaders yet. It’s the training ground so to speak, both in new skill development, and in character testing, and heart measuring.
These people will make up roughly 15% of the organization. This group requires more coaching and one-on-one time. And this is also where you begin to get a leveraged return on the time you invest.
These people begin to be the ones doing the nurturing and maintaining the 80% group, and some of them, as they follow begin to mature into true leaders. You essentially do a lot of teaching with this group.
The Third Step…
This is the 5% development. (In true 80/20 terms, this would be the 4%, but this is close enough). These are the ones you can truly duplicate with. They have organically and voluntarily grown up into people who can make a substantial impact on others.
You achieve massive leverage. They all bring leadership strengths that compliment and sharpen, your yours. They begin doing the teaching for the 15%. They drive the culture forward. They allow the organizations impact to multiply the constituency it serves in the community and marketplace.
These are the people you mentor.
Obviously, this article could be an actual book or multi-week training course if I were to flesh out all the different aspects of this. That isn’t the purpose.
The purpose is to give you the basic fundamental human recipe for building a long-term successful organization, starting from scratch.
Certainly, you could attempt to assemble 5%ers as the way to start, but that is not something that is attainable in reasonable time for an everyday person starting an organization.
This path? Anyone with the heart to, can do it.
Many Blessings, Todd
P.S. When you feel better, you do better. If you want to take your physical and mental well-being to an entirely new level, check out my new Wellness page: Wellness – Todd Burrier