Sunday, November 28, 2010

A leader’s willingness

At the end of a recent trip to India, I relived a valuable leadership lesson originally learned when I was fourteen years old.

We were having dinner and one of the team complemented me on the wide variety of skills I have picked up over the years working international aerospace projects. My comment back to him was that “it is less what I can do than it is what I am willing to do.” Many people know how to do certain tasks, but far less people willing to do the travel, work the time zone differences, read the cultural books, work the relationships and learn the customs. Coach Ed Noel taught me this lesson when I started playing organized sports. He told me there would always be players better than me, but none of them should put in more effort. Doing the extra sprints, foul shots, defensive drills, dribbling exercises and taking those darn offensive fouls will pay off in the end. It was all about what effort you are willing to put out.

People see what their leaders are willing to do. It makes a statement to the whole organization and those around it. Some call it being a role model, but I’m talking about something more extreme. It is the attitude that nothing is beneath you or beyond your reach. It is effort and being willing to do whatever it takes.

How you demonstrate your willingness to your teams?


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Do U “CBM”

Greetings from India.

Remya was taking a lot of notes as her bosses practiced their tour explanations. She was plotting the flow and observing the gestures. Everything had to be perfect. The CEO’s of two of the largest companies in the world were going to visit and this was their opportunity to demonstrate their accomplishments.

After about 15 tries, one of the senior executives and I noticed that she was always the one with the correct answer to any of our questions. We looked at each other and decided to let her give us a tour and she how she did. She did amazingly. She had been studying and really nailed it. Later that evening, the other executive mentioned to me that Remya had a real “CBM” today. I asked what that was and he replied, a “Confidence Building Moment.” What a great concept.

As leaders, we have the ability to create CBMs whenever we want. We can make people feel bad about their mistakes or we can use them to build talent and confidence. We can let our people stretch into new assignments or hold them back. We can encourage our people to grow or we can smother them with administrative tasks.

What CBMs have you given your people this week?


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