This year is beginning in a dramatic manner clearly supporting General Stanley McChrystal’s key points in his superb book, Team of Teams. The world is changing faster than ever, requiring new skills, combined with greater leadership competencies, giving individuals the ability of dealing with increasing complexity and multiplying choices. This constitutes culture change that does not come easily. It demands a disciplined effort to build and create strong shared Values that become an organization’s DNA for behavioral consciousness that “Lives these Values.”
Surrounded by increasing violence here in the United States and across the world, our senses and judgment can become dulled by the killing. We are beginning to see the impacts of all of this “killing” in the language of our leaders, newspaper journalists, and TV commentators. What is most striking in all these events and actions is the impact and role being played by technology. The biggest change in the past fifty years is you can follow and participate in what is happening remotely. My concern is the impact this has on individuals. A key core Value in my Mentorship Program is “You are always most credible and effective when you are Being Yourself.” But there is an insidious movement creeping into our thinking as a global society. Everything that is unique about an individual is increasingly criticized, diminished or forbidden.
Thinking about the Leaders, men and women it has been my great good fortune to work with, I have been examining what in their Character helps each of them be most successful in their lives and careers. They all share these Values, living them in a consistent manner through their behaviors and actions:
- They have Great Purpose. They are striving to build a “Big Vision” and in doing so, truly “Make a difference” in their company, their business and the lives of their teams. This commitment to Excellence motivates and requires the very best effort from all members of the Team.
- They raise the bar of expectation, being very selective in their choice of team leaders. They establish and insist on high standards of performance. In turn, these leadership actions help build and embed within their organization a culture of performance excellence and a Team of Teams perspective, not letting your team mates down.
- They are “Humble” in their behaviors, encouraging others to speak up and speak out. They are superb listeners. There are no sacred cows. This unleashes the creative energy, excitement and talents of the Team. The culture encourages open, honest and forthright conversations.
- By positioning each individual on the team to build on their strengths, experiences, gifts and wisdom, they make it possible for each individual to contribute what he or she is best at doing. Improving everyone’s performance aligns the strengths of many individuals, in turn developing strong esprit de corps, one hallmark of successful organizations.
- They have a Big Vision. They inspire others to have the moral courage to “Reach for the Stars.” This deep sense of Mission, has within it a strong element of Faith in the dignity and grace each individual has within their own “Character.” Being able to harness this power of discipleship develops a culture of leadership that permeates the organization and becomes a powerful component of the organization’s DNA.
Be Yourself at all times. Live your Values every day. Keep in the forefront of your awareness this great truth: Your Character Counts!
My Very Best Wishes for a Successful, Fulfilling, and Fun New Year in 2016.