Working on a Dream




Friday, July 13, 2012

Leadership Framework

Dov Seidman gives one of the best succinct paradigms of leadership that I have ever been exposed to.  In his interesting book, How, he provides a leadership framework in which there are twelve steps.  Below, I will list one by one, and then give my commentary on each. 
But before I do, I want to kick things off with a quote from the book.  "Leadership is not a set of rules or edicts you must memorize or comply with...leadership thrives in core values and then gives you ways of approaching each decision or action to bring those values to bear on others." 

1.  Vision:
Before you inspire others, you must first be inspired.  Pathos is the fire that burns within your guts, and everybody can tell if you got it.  Your vision keeps you up at night and it grips you harder than a pitcher throwing a fastball.  The author of Proverbs knows a little about vision, "Without vision the people will perish."  A true leader is intrinsically motivated, this means that the vision/mission grasps them, not a position or job description. 

2.  Communicate & Enlist:
A great leader knows that he/she cannot accomplish their vision on a solo mission.  Let's face it, if you plan on accomplishing anything of significance in this life then you will need to rely on others.  As the wise author of Ecclesiastes once said, "Two are better than one, and a cord of three strands is not easily broken."  I always make it a point to identify the key stakeholders in every endeavor I take on because it is important that my vision becomes their vision.

3. Seize Authority & Take Responsibility:
-You must step forward.
-You got to raise your hand. 
Whatever the case, as a leader you must take a stand for what you believe in.  Having guts is not an option if you desire to lead.  Playing the ultra-spiritual card of, "It's not about me" will not work.  Paul calls every follower of Jesus "Co-Laborers" in I Corinthians 3:9.  As you find yourself on this side of eternity, you have to realize that you are the hands and feet of Jesus. 
Stop your puny excuses and man up...the world is waiting for someone just like you to lead.

4.  Plan & Implement:
Here is one for you, "Plan your work; Work your Plan." 
Find ways to get things done.  Look for obstacles, and find ways to remove them.  This IS an act of leadership.  Even when things are going smooth, continually look for ways to rethink and renew.  Your competition (and the world) never stops thinking about this, why should you?  Drawing again from Proverbs, "The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing."

5.  Build Succession & Continuity:
Simply put, you have to find principles that will outlast you.  A great leader looks to the future and finds ways to implement values that will continue on without them.  In the classic book, Built to Last, Jim Collins calls this concept, "Clock Building."  Meaning, leaders build clock's that will keep telling the time whether they are around to tell it or not.  Said another way, you have to ensure that the vision continues on without you.  Whether you move on to another job or pass on to eternity, your vision/mission must not be tied to you.  If it is, then as you go, so will your organization.

6.  In Spite of:
This is where things get rough.  Everything in life that is worthwhile will catch resistance. 
Every invention, every new idea, every time someone comes up with a new way of doing something
-- people spew out negativity.  Press on, do it in spite of the haters...
A mentor of mine told me years ago to, "Never count the one's."  Meaning, do not focus on the few poison people, instead lift your eyes on the positive people and stay connected to God's plan for your life.

7.  Confront Complexity & Ambiguity:
Connected to #6, you must anticipate and confront conflict.  Taking the Ostrich approach is never, ever the right thing to do.  Leaders stare in the face of conflict and opposing interest.  Again, Jim Collins has something to offer here as he teaches that the first rule of leadership is to, "confront reality."  As for ambiguity, you cannot communicate enough.  I look at it like this; for every message one presents, there is a gap.  A gap for people/person to interpret what is meant. If left unfilled, that gap will naturally be filled by whatever the other person/people perceives.  This is natural and a very human thing to do, this is why you should have a check list making sure you are hitting every avenue of communication available to you.  Close the Gap when it comes to communication. 

Like what you are reading thus far?
Then stop back for part 2!

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