The sweltering heat of the High Desert region of Southern California was the setting for my initiation into business leadership at an executive level.
As a regional manager for a rental company, I led teams in five different locations. The flagship store was a top producer. This store was shattering company records, and it seemed that there was not much this young manager could not accomplish. Although the detailed statistical overview emitted warning signs, I was glad that one site did well as the others slogged and bogged their way with little success.
Overlooking key statistics I protected my manager from corporate criticism. That is until I stumbled upon the fact that he was manipulating the numbers and stealing. How could I miss this? I felt shocked, stunned, and embarrassed.
My great performer was a complete fraud. I spent the rest of the season fixing the problems I failed to prevent.
I realized that I needed more time to mature in wisdom and revelation.
Before beginning lets define a few important terms. To do this I consulted the guru of knowledge – Wikipedia.
Wisdom is a deep understanding and realization of people, things, events or situations, resulting in the ability to apply perceptions, judgements and actions in keeping with this understanding. – (Wiki)
Christian Revelation God’s disclosure of his own nature and his purpose for people, through the Bible and through a personal relationship with believers.
Paramount to a leader’s success is their ability to navigate difficult decisions. Rarely are leaders given a silver spoon towards success. Success comes on the heals of a thousand sound decisions both large and small.
The eye-popping truth is that when it comes to wisdom, the quality of leadership output is in direct proportions to the quantity and quality of inputs. Likewise, when it comes to revelation – The quality of time spent in prayer and how closely one walks with God significantly effects your output.
Improving your leadership abilities requires intentionality. I realize how important it is to invest in four key areas of leadership – God, People, Ideas, and Creativity.
God – Rather than provide another way to study Scripture – the real challenge is to develop your faith life by learning to walk closely with God. How? Start with the assumption that God is still speaking and then simply, ask.
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear, but when the, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:12-13)
Letting God guide us in leadership decisions only makes common sense. Figuring out a way to accomplish this can be challenging. Challenging yet rewarding!
People – Zig Ziglar believes that a person can get everything they want in life if they simply help enough other people get what they want. Great leaders understand this profound truth and surround themselves with extraordinary influencers.
However, how rare it is that we seek to build a relationship with a mentor we are willing to invest into. I believe that has been the missing ingredient to hundreds of failed attempts. Leaders should always serve their mentors first, and start this critical relationship with an investment and not a withdrawal.
Ideas – The cheapest most effective way to obtain tremendous knowledge is by reading books written by remarkable thinkers. I Listen to audio summaries of business books then read the best. We should always be reading.
Stop – do not just read – we should study what we read.
Why not take advantage of a Kindle or Nook? These devices allow us to highlight noteworthy sections and add personal notes. In this way, we can study the book and keep it all together for further reference.
Creativity – Finally, I refuse to lead in business and life with the goal of simply producing average levels of success. The opportunity in this life, as faith-filled leaders, is to change the world. To accomplish this, do not under value the positive effects of hanging out with creative people.
There is something powerful in the way talented artist, writers, musicians, and the like think. My friends who fall into this category are always thinking up fresh ideas. Artist are always dreaming about a new sound, image, or plot. In this new economic environment, I believe that we must learn to think like an artist no matter the title or position we are holding.
The end of the second business quarter is quickly approaching. Now is the time of year to reflect. Reflecting on the quantity and quality of your inputs will drive positive momentum for the rest of the year. What do you have to lose?
Your Turn: What are your favorite leadership inputs?