It’s not about you…

“Leadership is all about people.  It is not about organizations.  It is not about plans.  It is not about strategies.  It is all about people-motivating people to get the job done.  You have to be people-centered.”

Colin Powell

The best leaders I have worked with understood this principle fully. The worst saw people as a necessary evil to achieving their goals and objectives.

As a leader how well do you know what motivates your people? And by “people” I don’t mean at an aggregate level, but individually? What motives, inspires, and drives the folks that you serve? How much of your time and effort are you investing in making those things come true for them?

Are you genuinely interested in the hopes, dreams and desires of your people? If you aren’t, trust me, they already know…

Solve the problem…

“Don’t bother people for help without first trying to solve the problem yourself.”

Colin Powell

I am sure that we all know the type of person that seems to have nothing but problems and somehow always wants to bring them to someone else to be solved. It can be exhausting to work with or be around people that are like this. They are only focused on the problem and how it is someone else’s fault or responsibility and never on the solution and how they can take ownership.

What a refreshing difference it is with someone who owns it and finds a way to solve it themselves. Giving feedback is so much easier and more valuable when working with a person that is doing their very best to solve something. They have invested the time, effort and energy into the solution instead of shifting the responsibility to someone else.

What is the difference between these two types of people? The person on one end of the spectrum wants to make sure they have an out if things don’t go well or the solution wasn’t the right one. “It’s not my fault, they told me how to do it.” At the other end the person wants to own the solution and focuses their efforts on getting things done. “It might not be perfect but I am going to own finding the solution to this problem.”

Which end of this spectrum do you live on?


Ownership = Action

“The chief condition on which, life, health and vigor depend on, is action. It is by action that an organism develops its faculties, increases its energy, and attains the fulfillment of its destiny.”

Colin Powell

When do you know it is the right time to take action?  I would argue that if you are thinking about whether it is the right time, that the right time has already passed.  

A bias towards action is a bias towards ownership.  If you have that ownership trait then you will have a bias towards action.  If you don’t, then you can grow one.  Just start taking action on the things that need to be done.

How big is your dream?

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”

Colin Powell

What kind of dream motivates you to take it from a wish to reality?  Is it big enough to make blisters worthwhile?  It is big enough to make you overcome any obstacle?  It is big enough to make you get up early in the morning and do the hard work before anyone else is even awake?  I’d argue that if you aren’t doing those things, your dream isn’t big enough…

 

Failure to plan…

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”

Colin Powell

This quote reminds me of the old axiom “if you fail to plan you plan to fail.” Preparation is such an important aspect of success that sometimes gets overlooked.  It’s so easy to wait until the last minute to get the work done but far too often that increases the chance of failure, or at least of sub-optimal results.  Good preparation is part of the hard work required to create success.  Being intentional in what we WANT to do allows us to execute against our plan with focused hard work AND creates the environment that allows us to learn when things don’t go as planned.  If you don’t have a plan, how will you know if you don’t achieve it?

 

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