Growing Up in Business

Whew! This book is exhilarating! This is one of those books that once you pick it up, you don’t put it down until your heart is racing, your breathing is accelerated, and your mind is feverishly trying to keep up with your desire to finish the book! Sheesh! I see why so many people recommend this one. I think the best part is that the author is a great story teller. He pulls you in by telling you all about yourself and then allows you to come to your own conclusions about how best to proceed towards a brighter future of endless possibilities. I was on such an emotional high that I had to force myself to put the book down just to ensure that I could retain some of the wisdom that I was absorbing. I don’t want this to be just another book. I want to re-focus my energy on internalizing the lessons so that I can apply them and share them with others. Let’s dive in to today’s reading.

The main theme for today was our introduction to the three personalities that battle within all small business owners: The Technician, The Manager, and the Entrepreneur. I must say that I was quite tickled as Mr. Michael Gerber proceeded to put a label and a description on three aspects of my being that actually have been in a bit of a tussle ever since I began working on The Royal Oak Initiative.

Basically, he begins by calling out the employees who got tired of their bosses. I hear it all the time in my line of work. “I want to be my own boss.” I don’t think I have ever used those words simply because I never experienced the apparent oppression of employment under a despised supervisor, however, my actions probably say otherwise.

The thought of independence followed you everywhere. p. 12

I enjoy the ability to control my time and my day. Sometimes, I enjoy the ability to control my results. My desire to control outcomes is apparently typical of the entrepreneur personality. But let me not jump too far ahead.

I think it’s interesting that I was not one of these people who said “if I were to start a business, what would it be?” I think ROI came specifically out of an observation of a perceived need for more intentional critical thinking especially around personal finances. I’m not going to lie; I did get a bit caught up in the fantasy of being one of the world’s greatest financial minds and business owners, single-handily changing the world as we know it. Then reality sets in a bit and I’m brought back down to Earth where I question my mere existence. Luckily, there is much more of a balance these days that allows me to slowly but steadily get back on track towards delivering to the world a refined service that could just maybe change the world of a few, thereby rippling into the future.

Sidenote: This is why I love reading! It makes you feel like a writer and your thoughts just flow in one stream of consciousness, allowing you to release such pent up energy in a way that brings a smile to your face and to your heart. For you know that in your expressive delivery, you are being unapologetically true to yourself.

According to Mr. Gerber, many small business owners are just disgruntled employees who decide to make their own jobs based on a misguided assumption that because one can do work well one can run a business.

That Fatal Assumption is: if you understand the technical work of a business, you understand a business that does technical work. p. 13

I must say that this book has caused me to do some serious soul searching and self-reflection. I think that may be part of the reason why I’m so introspective is because I read so many self-development books that force you to hold yourself accountable and to be honest about where you are in with respect to how you want your life to be. Am I where I want to be? Not quite. So how do I get there? That’s the key question. Something that I read about constantly in entrepreneurial material is that we should focus less on finding the right answers but more of our energy should be spent searching for the right questions. Then we wouldn’t waste so much of our precious time, talents and treasures on meaningless muck. We would recognize the true best application of our gifts and we would thereby surround ourselves with others who can complement our willingness to let go of those tasks that don’t suit our abilities.

I’m pleased that some of the pitfalls of many small business owners do not seem to be issues for me. Since I am naturally more of a visionary, I don’t get as caught up in this idea of doing all the work myself. However, I do end up trying to do all of the work myself, especially work that doesn’t directly lead to desired results. I think a blend of the personality assessment that we use at work with the one in the book would describe me the best. I’m an Entrepreneurial Technician, with my eyes on the sky and my head in a book. I believe that I most need more of The Manager, the aspect of a person that focuses on progress. The Entrepreneur focuses on year to year, The Manager focuses on day to day, and The Technician focuses on hour to hour. I need more of The Manager.

I’m glad I’m reading this book now because I have been blessed with a glimpse of the future if I don’t make some changes now. Burnout is real! I have already experienced it with ROI. Apparently, many a business owner puts so much effort into trying to run their business himself or herself that they end up trying to do everything and end up doing nothing well. Then the business crashes. I know that I need to get more help. But just like we see in the book, we get nervous about showing other people are brainchild. What will they think about it? Also, that would require giving up some control, which requires trust! People call their businesses their babies. That’s a big deal, and I’m just supposed to hand this over to strangers?! Well, not exactly. That’s where discretion comes into play. But I digress.

We hear a story about a lady named Sarah who starts a pie shop but eventually the shop enslaves her time and money.

The technician suffering from an Entrepreneurial Seizure takes the work he loves to do and turns it into a job. The work that was born out of love becomes a chore, among a welter of other less familiar and less pleasant chores. Rather than maintaining its specialness, representing the unique skill the technician possesses and upon which he started the business, the work becomes trivialized, something to get through in order to make room for everything else that must be done. p. 17

And so begins the battle of priorities! What is it exactly that we should be focused on? To introduce us to the warring personalities within us all, we are given the example of The Fat Guy vs. The Skinny Guy. Round 1. FIGHT! I actually just experienced this conflict in which all of a sudden you get inspired to get skinny and start making all these changes but then your motivation slowly runs out because you realize not only that you were just inspired and not really motivated but also that progress takes a long time! It’s not that you’re truly a bad person or lazy. It’s just that you have various parts of your personality that will emerge supreme based on the conditions and circumstances. If your inspiration increases, you will look for any excuse not to put in that work- or at least that’s what I do. That’s why I have to put certain things in place to make it easier for me to do what I need to do. For example, if I need to wake up early, I’ll go to sleep early.

It’s not that we’re indecisive or unreliable; it’s that each and every one of us is a whole set of different personalities, each with his own interests and way of doing things. p. 23

To The Entrepreneur, most people are problems that get in the way of the dream. p. 25

Where The Entrepreneur craves control, The Manager craves order. p. 25

I’m kind of skipping over some really good material in these chapters but I highlighted the material that most spoke to my current situation and characteristics. The Entrepreneur is the dreamer. The Manager is the organizer. The Technician is the doer. I can easily see why we need all three. Most technicians get caught up in the weeds and don’t focus on the big picture. I know I can do that sometimes, especially with work as I pursue licenses, certifications, and information without necessarily applying what I’m learning.

‘I wonder’ is the true work of the entrepreneurial personality. p. 33

It is self-evident that businesses, like people, are supposed to grow; and with growth, comes change. Unfortunately, most businesses are not run according to this principle. Instead most businesses are operated according to what the owner wants as opposed to what the business needs. p. 34

As The Technician, you’re accustomed to “paying your dues.” So the hours devoted to the business during Infancy are not spent grudgingly but optimistically. p. 35

I really liked this point. This is how I approach reading and studying. You gotta do what you gotta do to get the result you want. But once again, the key is to focus on doing the right things at the right times. A lot of technicians will kill themselves in their businesses while paying their dues but not really doing the work necessary to transition to the next phase of development. I’ll have to watch out for that.

Because as a Technician-turned-business-owner, your focus is upside down. You see the world from the bottom up rather than from the top down. You have a tactical view rather than a strategic view. p. 38

I appreciate this sentiment as it relates very much so to what we do in chess. Some folks get so caught up in the tricks and tactics that they never develop a sustainable methodology of play. This is evident in that many beginners just focus on opening tricks, but when thrust into the mysterious world of the middle-game, they are quickly exposed for not having developed strategic thinking that employs tactics but doesn’t get lost in them.

And it’s the work you’re not doing, the strategic work, the entrepreneurial work, that will lead your business forward, that will give you the life you’ve not yet known. p. 39

We’re almost done! This was a lot of material to go through!

“Don’t you see? If your business depends on you, you don’t own a business- you have a job. And it’s the worst job in the world because you’re working for a lunatic!” p. 40

I hear this at work all the time. “Don’t you want a business that doesn’t depend on you?” Yes, yes I do. Why? Because I’m not always consistent and I don’t want my idiosyncrasies to negatively impact the result that I desire. #Message. I don’t think I have ever really understood what they were saying until now. It’s really about your personal goals. I know I want to eradicate economic opportunity inequality. That vision shouldn’t have to be slowed down by my having a bad day.

“The purpose of going into business is to get free of a job so you can create jobs for other people. The purpose of going into business is to expand beyond your existing horizons. So you can invent something that satisfies a need in the marketplace that has never been satisfied. So you can live an expanded, stimulating new life.” p. 41

“And to play this new game, called building a small business that actually works,  your Entrepreneur needs to be coaxed out, nourished, and given the room she needs to expand, and your Manager needs to be supported as well so she can develop her skill at creating order and translating the entrepreneurial vision into actions that can be efficiently manifested in the real world. p. 42

Adolescence beings at the point in the life of your business when you decide to get some help. p. 43

The key is to get help, but not to give your business to someone else. No one knows your business like you do and no one can see the vision as clearly as the creator. I think that’s what I fear. But now I know that the inevitable will arise if I don’t seek help early. The key is to focus on teamwork and delegation rather than abdication.

This was a really long entry. But it was satisfying. I’m almost tempted to keep reading. Hmm. I’ll take a little break and see how I feel after than. Until next time! 🙂

 

 

 

 

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The E-Myth Revisited

I have heard so much about this book and I finally get to explore the wisdom and concepts that have propelled many a business owner to the upper echelons of success. I mean look at how the book starts:

If you own a small business, or if you want to own a small business, this book was written for you. p. 1

What?! That’s like marketing 101! Identify your audience and pull them in. That’s how you know this is going to be good. I’ve only read for 15 minutes and have already highlighted a ton! Looks like I’ll need a few more highlighters to get through this one.

The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge while an ordinary man takes everything either as a blessing or a curse. p. 1

I like that! I think the warrior will see every opportunity as a challenge and every challenge as an opportunity, always focused on putting forth one’s best effort to bring about a desired result.

…people who are exceptionally good in business aren’t so because of what they know but because of their insatiable need to know more. p. xiii

At least I got this part down. Sometimes this can be a God-send and sometimes it can paralyze you. I think the balance between analysis paralysis and blind fury is “grow as you go”. You do need to continue to learn and improve but do so as you venture out into the world. Equip yourself with enough wisdom and safeguards to not totally destroy all chances of success, but expect to get better and better with time, practice, patience, and prayer. Most of this is what I’m saying to myself but it also sounds good too. 🙂

The greatest businesspeople I’ve met are determined to get it right no matter what the cost. p. xiii

Now of course that phrase “no matter what the cost” ideally has its limits in ethics, morals, and law. But otherwise I agree that you basically gotta do what you gotta do.

Like I said, there has already been a lot of highlighting:

On the other hand, notwithstanding the search for “something higher,” the best of the best I have known are extraordinarily grounded people; they are compulsive about detail, pragmatic, down-to-earth, in touch with the seamy reality of ordinary life. They know that a business doesn’t miss the mark by failing to achieve greatness in some lofty, principled way, but in the stuff that goes on in every nook and cranny of the business…And so the great ones I have known seem to possess an intuitive understanding that the only way to reach something higher is to focus their attention on the multitude of seemingly insignificant, unimportant, and boring things that make up every business. p. xiv

Yes, the simple truth about the greatest businesspeople I have known is that they have a genuine fascination for the truly astonishing impact little things done exactly right can have on the world. p. xv

That’s all just in the foreword! We haven’t even gotten to the introduction! I bet this book is going to be super technical as well. See! I don’t know how I let myself fall out of the habit of reading uplifting and inspiring books on a regular basis. Sometimes you have to venture into uncomfortable territory, but I’m finding that it’s more and more important to care for and nurture your inspiration lest the fuel gets too low and the light goes out.

Indeed, the problem is not that the owners of small businesses in this country don’t work; the problem is that they’re doing the wrong work. p. 1

And what makes people work is an idea worth working for, along with a clear understanding of what needs to be done. p. 4

…your business is nothing more than a distinct reflection of who you are. p. 5

I think I’m going to document my journey through this book by sitting. As in, I’ll read for a time, reflect for a time, then read some more. Yup, and so it begins!

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Does Equality Kill Competition?

Reflection Question: Does economic equality breed complacency and destroy healthy competition?

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How Europe Pulled Ahead

What caused Europe to develop faster than the rest of the world? That’s my main question. I’m reading about the emergence of international trade and its impact on international stratification. Essentially, Europe seems to be the first area that moved towards capitalism and focused on subjugating a sector of the population for the benefit of the decision-makers. However, I think some very natural trade patterns emerged. Everyone wanted what the others had. Europeans wanted gold from Africa, Asians wanted European goods, and Africans wanted Asian spices, etc. That part makes sense. Also, apparently Europeans had better naval capacities both for exploration and for military conquest. Once Europeans realized that they had to figure out a way to get more gold, they started bulldozing their way into the African coast and then re-focused their energy on exploiting the Americas.

It’s still crazy to me that in some parts of the Americas, the entire population of indigenous people were wiped out. And we’re supposed to be okay with that? So Europeans wanted to get all the minerals and produce from the Americas to take back to Europe but they didn’t have the labor to do it. So where do they turn? Africa. Folks started trading African captives for consumer goods. Can you imagine your mom getting traded for a bottle of liquor? Crazy right? But folks were doing it! Africans were enticed by the foreign luxuries (which a lot of times were actually the leftover hand-me-downs from European society) (and we still obsess over luxuries) and would do anything to get their hands on them, including selling their brothers and sisters (cough cough). They would also sell captives and prisoners of war. But, next thing I read is that folks actually started fighting just to get prisoners to trade with the Europeans. Can you believe that? Well, I guess I can see how it makes logical sense. They wanted more stuff, and to get more stuff they had to trade something of value. The Europeans wanted more people so they had to get more people. Makes sense. It’s still frustrating to think about. Books like this can be quite deflating. 😦

What it means is that some Africa rulers found European goods sufficiently desirable to hand over captives which they had taken in warfare. Soon, war began to be fought between one community and another for the sole purpose of getting prisoners for sale to Europeans, and even inside a given community a ruler might be tempted to exploit his own subjects and capture them for sale. A chain reaction was started by European demand for slaves (and only slaves) and by their offer of consumer goods- this process being connected with divisions within African society. p. 91

And these are some of the things that unfortunately we can’t argue with.

National unification was a product of mature feudalism and of capitalism. Inside of Europe, there were far fewer political divisions than in Africa where communalism meant political fragmentation with the family as the nucleus, and there were only a few states that had real territorial solidity. p. 92

Any European trader could arrive on the coast of West Africa and exploit the political differences which he found there. For example, in the small territory that the Portuguese later claimed as Guinea-Bissau, there were more than a dozen ethnic groups. It was so easy to set one off against another that Europeans called it a ‘slave trader’s paradise.’ p. 92

In the simplest of societies where there were no kings, it proved impossible for Europeans to strike up the alliance which was necessary to carry on a trade in captives on the coast. p 92

It’s good to read that some of the leaders did resist the slave trade, at least at first. For instance, one of the kings of the Kongo wanted to establish a mutually beneficial trading relationship with Europe, exchanging the best of both worlds instead of being exploited and forced into submission through the exporting of people. However, the Europeans forced one king of the Kongo to fight the other, thus allowing their slave trade to continue. I wonder if this is still happening today. We fight each other, end up in jail, or dead, and then are forced into slave labor. I need to pick up the books “40-Million Dollar Slave” and “The New Jim Crow.”

I have to be careful reading this kind of stuff because it surely lights a fire in me. At least there was some resistance!

Once trade in slaves had been started in any given part of Africa, it soon became clear that it was beyond the capacity of any single African state to change the situation. In Angola, the Portuguese employed an unusual number of their own troops and tried to seize political power from Africans. The Angolan state of Matamba on the river Kwango was founded around 1630 as a direct reaction against the Portuguese. With Queen Nzinga at its head, Matamba tried to co-ordinate resistance against the Portuguese in Angola. However, Portugal gained the upper hand in 1648, and this left Matamba isolated. Matamba could not forever stand aside. So long as it opposed trade with the Portuguese, it was an object of hostility from neighboring African states which had compromised with Europeans and slave trading. So in 1656 Queen Nzinga resumed business with the Portuguese- a major concession to the decision-making role of Europeans within the Angolan economy. p. 93

Dang! I was rooting for Queen Nzinga! We’re going to study specific kings and queens throughout history that stood up for what they believed and for the betterment of their people. Queen Nzinga, we salute you for trying! There was another king of Dahomey named Agaja Trudo who also resisted the Europeans. He attacked slave-friendly entities and successfully retarded the slave trade in his region for quite a while. However, he didn’t address his country’s newly formed dependence on European goods and thus a vacuum was created that eventually led to the re-establishment of the slave trade in exchange for firearms and cowries. See that? The point is that they couldn’t do it themselves and they didn’t come up with another economic system to replace that which they were trying to eradicate.

I’m going to pause there and resume reading later. This book will just get you going. It makes me critically aware of how things came to be. I never used to be a huge fan of history, but it’s so important for understanding how things are and how things can be in the future. Knowledge is potential. Action is power.

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Take-Aways from “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa”

My trip to Ghana changed my life. And it continues to do so even now. I’m reading a book called “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa” by Walter Rodney. Now before we get ahead of ourselves and start jumping to conclusions, I decided to take as neutral of an approach as possible. I have been advised to remain aware of my consciousness while reading the works of passionate leaders throughout history, as they may have an impact on my psyche and perspective without me knowing it. Well, this book has shed some light on some very interesting aspects of history regarding societal development.

I first learned that most societies developed in a similar pattern. They started off with a system called communalism in which families lived off their land and everything was focused on making sure everyone had what they needed. There wasn’t a lot of competition or socioeconomic separation. It seemed peaceful. I’m sure there were some disadvantages but considering today’s society and the results of capitalism (some folks do great and others don’t), it must have been a very community-focused lifestyle and less individualistic. I guess communalism has some commonalities with socialism. I’m not completely familiar with these economic systems and so I haven’t come to any conclusions yet.

There seem to have been some differences in the emergence of civilizations in that Africa had many independent ethnicities and less focus on large-scale government- at least initially. It seems as if Africa, Asia, and Europe all experienced some feudalism in which some folks decided that they were better than everyone else and started “owning” the land, forcing those without land to work, pay taxes, and essentially be dependent on the folks not doing any work. Like I said, I’m not leaning either direction yet, but those who know me know that I’m a passionate advocate of economic equality when it comes to opportunity. What led to the rise of the class system? Well it seems that trade, specialization of labor, and military had a lot to do with it.

If there was a small class which monopolised most of the land, it followed that there was a large class of landless. p. 57

This all goes to show that Africa and the rest of the world wasn’t that different until Africa started getting bullied. 😦 Even under feudalism, I don’t get what makes some people think they can brutalize others just for their own benefit. I remember when Ani brought up this point when we were in Ghana. The other thing I don’t quite get (that happened everywhere) was the emergence of royalty. Who decided who was royal and not? Maybe some people emerged with natural leadership ability and then established a royal lineage? That could make sense. I’ll have to look more into that.

Shout out to Egypt. Egypt is seen as one of the most progressive African entities all the time. Key thing to pay attention to is that Egypt is in Africa! However, we do acknowledge that Egypt came under Arab rule sometime around the 8th century. That does not negate the fact that the Egyptians were handling their business. We also note the advancement of the Ethiopian empire, with strong Christian influence. They too developed a ruling class of landlords that exploited the peasants. To their point, there were a lot more impressive feats accomplished as a result of organized labor that wouldn’t have happened necessarily under the organic desires of communalistic families. It’s just unfortunate that we had to produce these awesome monuments by essentially enslaving a subset of society. And to boot, the nobles didn’t pay taxes most of the time. Sounds familiar!

Nubia had a similar development to that of Ethiopia in that the Christian church quickly ascended into the luxurious lifestyle of a select few, in that the church was the center of all things in society. It’s interesting that many of the peasants that were used to build the church (literally and figuratively) were illiterate and non-Christians! Fancy that! Kush was an economically advanced kingdom, rivaling Egypt even! So, we have several examples of how progressive these societies were even with foreign influence. Unfortunately, economic classes did emerge at the expense of the majority in favor of the few, but we can’t deny the impacts that this had on economic development.

More to come!

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Key Points from CULYP Networking Workshop

Hosted by Tasha Booker, VP and Executive Director at City Year Columbus

  • Volunteering will often bring more opportunities than your career. That’s how you get remembered.
  • Three P’s: Power, Presence, Perception

Power

  • Power in your personal brand and your story. Who are you? Past, present, and future. FORM
  • Power in knowing what you want. “What can I do for you?” when speaking with high-profile individuals. Know what support you need and can offer. Know how you can help and demonstrate reciprocity
  • Ask for advice. People love talking about themselves.
  • Power in knowing your community, current events, trends, destinations, etc.
  • Know key players. Meeting higher-ups in organization creates connection
    • Referenced Devil Wears Prada
    • Columbus CeO
    • Smart Business
    • Community Reports
    • Columbus Business First
    • Columbus 2020
  • Know current events! “We” aren’t expected to know current events. Show that you’re interested.
  • Give everything (new experiences) 1 try and re-evaluate the value
  • Force yourself to talk to new people and go by yourself
  • FOMO = Fear of Missing Out

Presence

  • How do you enter a space and own a room?
  • Present in the conversation
  • Are you yourself?
  • If people don’t like you, you lose authentic leadership
    • She typically misses the first and last 15 minutes
  • To get to the big fish, you have to be intentional about what you want

Perception

  • How do I perceive myself? How do others perceive me? Ask colleagues and mentors
  • Lead with strengths (don’t focus on weaknesses)
    • Any strength overused can become a weakness
  • You’ll never convince people you’re worthy your words
  • How do you manage your personal and professional life?
    • What you portray personally reflects your professional endeavors
  • You don’t always have to prove yourself (pride). Choose your battles
  • Sometimes, not sharing enough can hurt you.
  • Leaders don’t need to know everything about everything
  • Staying power –> excellence
    • Master your current spot
  • Don’t bring challenges without a solution

Recommended Reading

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People
  • Crucial Conversations
  • Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
  • Never Eat Alone
  • Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success 
  • One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership
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Key Points from Rev. Al Sharpton

  • A national movement requires a national spotlight
  • Without dramatizing an issue, you have to expose it at a national level or else it can be covered up
  • Control the message but don’t deny the attention
  • “Fight until you win. Don’t fight on someone else’s timeline.”
  • “The church should be out front.
  • “Sick of people being heaven bound, but no earthly good.”
  • “People are in the Bible for what they did on Earth.”
  • Colleagues in pulpit studied Moses liberation movement but not involved in US
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Common purpose can only work if it has truly originated from the group and if the group is truly invested in that common purpose.

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Key Points from Bob McDonald

This was from YEARS ago, but I found my notes!

  • Purpose-driven life is more meaningful and rewarding than meandering through life without direction
  • Company must do well to do good and must do good to do well
  • We like to do what we’re good at, and we’re good at what we like to do
  • Character is the most important trait of a leader
  • Put the needs of the organization above your own. Take personal responsibility for organization results
  • “Help me choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.” -West Point Cadet Prayer
  • Diverse groups of people are more innovative than homogeneous groups
    • “We want our organization to look like the [consumers] we are trying to serve.”
    • “To treat you the way you want to be treated, I have to know you!”
  • Ineffective strategies, systems, and culture are bigger barriers to achievement than the talents of people
  • The true test of a leader is the performance of the organization when he or she is absent or after he or she departs
  • Don’t let other people define success for you.

Recommended Books:

  • The Dream Manager- Matthew Kelly
  • Man’s Search for Meaning- Victor Frankel
  • The Rational Solution- Matt Ridley
  • The Leader’s Compass- Dennis Haley
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20. The Law of Explosive Growth

The Law of Explosive Growth: To Add Growth, Lead Followers- To Multiply, Lead Leaders

I like this title. A good leader leads followers. A great leader leads leaders. That’s deep. I have work to do. I think I lead leaders, but I also have to make sure I’m doing all that I can to develop those leaders so that they can independently lead effectively.

The author shares with us his personal story of traveling around the world for conferences and seminars and noticing that people with poor leadership development have trouble overcoming personal issues in order to focus on more important matters. Instead of focusing on the macro, they were consumed with the micro. Maxwell suggests that to overcome this, we need to develop other leaders, which is why he started his non-profit, EQUIP. This next section really spoke to me though about patience, something that I struggle with as a leader.

Leaders are naturally impatient. At least, all of the leaders I know are. Leaders want to move fast. They want to see the vision fulfilled. They delight in progress. Good leaders quickly assess where an organization is, project where it needs to go, and have strong ideas about how to get it there. The problem is that most of the time the people and the organization lag behind the leader. For that reason, leaders always feel a tension between where they are and their people are and where they ought to be…How do yo relieve that tension between where the organization is and where you want it to be? The answer can be found in the Law of Explosive Growth:

  • If you develop yourself, you can experience personal success.
  • If you develop a team, your organization can experience growth.
  • If you develop leaders, your organization can achieve explosive growth.

You can grow by leading followers. But if you want to maximize your leadership and help your organization reach its potential, you need to develop leaders. There is no other way to experience explosive growth. p. 249

Leaders who attract followers need to be needed. Leaders who attract leaders want to be succeeded. Excitement comes from becoming a leader When you speak, people listen. When you want something done, you can enlist other people to help you. Having followers can make you feel needed and important. However, that is a pretty shallow reason to pursue leadership. Good leaders lead for the sake of their followers and for what they can leave behind after their time of leadership is completed.

Leaders who attract followers develop the bottom 20 percent. Leaders who attract leaders develop the top 20 percent. When you’re leading a group of people, who typically asks for the most time and attention? The weakest ones in the group. If you allow them to, they will consume 80 percent or more of your time. However, proactive leaders who practice the Law of Explosive Growth don’t allow that bottom 20 percent to take all their time. They seek out the best 20 percent- the people with the greatest leadership potential- and they invest their time developing them. They know that if they develop the best, the best will help with the rest.

Leaders who attract followers focus on weakness. Leaders who develop leaders focus on strengths. A necessity of working with the bottom 20 percent is that you must continually deal with their weaknesses. Unsuccessful people usually need help with the basics. Problems in those areas keep them from achieving consistent performance on a regular basis. However, when you work with your best people, you can build on their strengths.

Leaders who attract followers treat everyone the same. Leaders who develop leaders treat individuals differently. Leaders who develop leaders give rewards, resources, and responsibility based on results. The greater the impact of leaders, the greater the opportunities they receive.

Leaders who attract followers spend time with others. Leaders who develop leaders invest time in others. When leaders take the time to develop the leaders they attract, they are making a valuable investment in them. Every moment they spend helps to increase their ability and influence. And that pays dividends to them and the organization.

Leaders who attract followers grow by addition. Leaders who develop leaders grow by multiplication. Leaders who attract followers grow their organization only one person at a time. When you attract one follower, you impact one person. And you receive the value and power of one person. However, leaders who develop leaders multiply their organization’s growth, because for every leader they develop, they also receive the value of all of that leader’s followers.

Leaders who attract followers impact only people they touch. Leaders who develop leaders impact people beyond their reach. Leaders who attract followers but never develop leaders get tired. Why? Because they themselves must deal with every person under their authority. Being able to impact only the people you can touch personally is very limiting. In contrast, leaders who develop leaders impact people far beyond their personal reach. The better the leaders they develop, the greater the quality and quantity of followers and the greater the reach. Every time you develop leaders and help them increase their leadership ability, you make them capable of influencing an even greater number of people. By helping one person, you can reach many others.

  1. Leaders are hard to find. How many people do you know who are really good leaders? They have influence. They make things happen. They see and seize opportunities. And they an attract, enlist, and rally people to perform with excellence.
  2. Leaders are hard to gather. Once you find leaders, drawing them in can be very difficult. They are entrepreneurial and want to go their own way. If you try to recruit them, they want to know where you’re going, how you plan to get there, who else you’re planning to take with you- and whether they can drive! What you’re doing has to be more compelling than what they’re already doing. On top of that, your organization needs to create an environment that is attractive to them. That is often not the case. Most organizations desire stability. Leaders want excitement. Most organizations desire structure. Leaders want flexibility. Most organizations place a high value on following rules. Leaders want to think outside the box. If you want to gather leaders, you must create a place where they can thrive.
  3. Leaders are hard to keep. The only way to lead leaders is to become a better leader yourself. If you keep growing and stay ahead of people you lead, then you will be able to keep adding value to the leaders who follow you. Your goals must be to keep developing them so that they can realize their potential. Only a leader can do that for another leader, because it takes a leader to raise up another leader.

Reflection:

  1. I would say that I’m still developing myself but I’m also working to develop leaders. I need to spend more time empowering the leaders to do well, instead of trying to control the outcomes. I continuous work on myself but sometimes I doubt my leadership which causes me to shrink back into my comfort zone in which I don’t challenge people to pursue their potential. I’m constantly second-guessing myself, which is really frustrating. To develop other leaders, I should give them opportunities to fail.
  2. I should start looking for leaders. I haven’t been looking.
  3. I’m always working to be a better leader. We have a good environment for leaders to thrive. I need to give leaders more opportunities to lead. I need to praise risk and reward success more.
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