Most of us began our careers either making widgets of some kind or selling widgets or delivering the services needed to make widgets work. If our work with widgets was good enough, many of us got promoted into positions of management. This created all kinds of issues in even the best organizations because widget making, widget selling and widget service delivery requires an entirely different skill set than management.
Now that I have retired, I have had the opportunity to reflect on what allowed Wegmans to be successful in helping people reach their maximum potential while achieving required business goals. My core beliefs of happy employees, happy customers, and a solid bottom line were helpful; they were simple ways to continually reinforce the values and business objectives of Wegmans. As I experienced ever-growing responsibilities, I learned that my role needed to evolve into one that committed the required time to strategic leadership—the people on my teams were expecting me to lead them in this critical business requirement. My teammates helped me think this through, and the end result was a process that:
Topics: Lesson in Leadership
“It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” - Roy Disney
You can't lead others until you can lead yourself. You also can't motivate others unless you can first motivate yourself. The microcosm of the leader as an individual sets up the macro environment around them. Esteemed leadership author John Maxwell sees this fact as critical. In his book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, law number one (of twenty-one) is the 'Law of the Lid'. What it says is that the capacity of the organization and its people will be largely determined by the capability and motivations of the leader.
“It’s a terrible thing to look over your shoulder when you are trying to lead – and find no one there.” - Franklin D. Roosevelt
In a time of downsizing, right-sizing, re-organizing, and consolidating, it is common to find managers with fancy titles who are focused on making numbers, completing tasks, and who vaguely acknowledge that there is a team made up of people who are there to help and are excited to contribute. The longer this goes on, the more the excitement of the team wanes and the leaders in the group move on to loftier organizations.
"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education." - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
When asked about how to build a winning team, former super bowl coach and champion NASCAR owner Joe Gibbs stated “Character is first. If you can’t pass the character test, you’ve got a real problem. And then it goes to smarts. And then you go to talent. Those first two, we’ve learned big lessons in the past.” Across multiple sports, Joe Gibbs has built every winning team he has been part of with this formula. So just how is it that character trumps talent and intellect?
Oreo™ cookies! What images, memories and associations immediately come to mind? The writer’s children would say they remember their dad walking around with a stack of Oreos in one hand and a glass of milk in the other. What do Oreo cookies have to do with leadership? More than you might think.
Leadership and branding strategies have a lot in common. A strong leader is like a memorable brand, and the success of any brand depends on its ability to stand out in the crowd. Branding is the main tool marketers use to distinguish their products from the competition. These same concepts can be used to build and distinguish a leader…a branded leader.
“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” - C. S. Lewis
Great and effective leaders know that time is the most precious commodity and resource they must manage and leverage. This is because unlike money, energy and talent, time is not a renewable commodity or resource. You only get to spend it once and how time is spent determines the bulk of life’s most significant outcomes. When leaders are good stewards of time, they are content with the present, benefit from their past and establish preferred futures.
4 Observations from Women in Leadership
“To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
We just celebrated the inauguration of the first female president here at Roberts Wesleyan College. She’s dynamic, energetic, genuine and creating the vision for our future. It’s an exciting time here, and I think she is the type of leader who is going to “turn it up to 11!”
Originally published in Journal of Healthcare Information Management, Fall 2012, Volume 26, Number 4
The healthcare landscape changes quickly and successful organizations must adapt quickly if they hope to be competitive and profitable. Unfortunately, larger, more complex organizations seem to have a hard time implementing change.
Amidst all kinds of interest these days in things like renewable energy sources and personal wellness, one has to wonder why we don't see more written in the popular press on the subject of renewing people. It is a discussion that should be facilitated by leaders. Author Robert Greenleaf is credited with coining the term 'servant-leadership' and one of the ten characteristics that he deemed critical to servant-leadership is 'healing and serving.' In defining this healing trait he went on to say that "...implicit in the compact between servant-leader and led [those he or she leads], is the understanding that the search for wholeness is something they share" (Greenleaf, 1991, p. 27).