It has been three weeks since we last spoke. I skipped last week since most of the world was digging out of the holiday backlog and returning to the reality of January and had enough emails already in their inboxes.
I promise that this is not going to be the annual “let’s review our goals and make 2016 the best year ever” essay. Last year was a great year of learning with great interviews and information presented from very gifted people. Their wisdom sets a superb base for one of the central themes of 2016, which is the question: “why are we doing this?”
With that in mind, please consider the following:
This question, “why are we doing this?”, is commonly asked by individuals who are starting a change process and I heard it just this week from a team member. We had been talking about transformational, elite leadership and obviously I had been doing a less than stellar job in describing the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’. This person was comfortable, reasonably so, with where he was in his leadership path. However, comfort and elite do not go hand in hand.
I have a very clear view, from years of experience and very exciting results, of what elite, transformational leadership can produce. However, my experiences are worthless to those I coach unless I can communicate the ‘why’ behind the process. One of my mentors described this as creating the ‘burning platform’.
The world of healthcare is changing at a blitzingly fast pace. Yet, in the midst of this world, I find that there are those that are still in the “we used to do it this way and it worked” modality. Our ‘brilliant’ thinking and points are worthless unless we can instill an urgency, based on personal growth, that results in transformation to elite status.
I also realize that you know this already, yet it is one of the hardest items to achieve as a leader. You state a great point, the group seems to hear it and it seems to resonate with them. There might even some followup on your part. And after three months, nothing has substantively changed.
If you do nothing else this year than break that vicious cycle, then this will have been a superb year of leadership.
So, two key items. I need to be clear on definitions, since I ran into some misunderstanding last year which temporarily derailed some great progress.
Transformation: a complete or major change
Elite – Best of class
People seem to be especially sensitive to the word ‘elite’, since it can imply a hierarchical or classist level of thinking. My use of this word is actually the antithesis of this. Best of class cannot exist with either of those levels of thinking.
What I need you to do is the following: In the spirit of the superb book “The One Thing”, I need you to choose the one area that will be the most impactful for you, in regards to transformational, elite leadership in the near future. Probably the time frame should be no longer than six months. With that one item in mind, ask three questions:
- What do I need to do to start a complete or major change in this area?
- How will I become the best of class in this area?
- Why am I doing this?
Do not make long lists here. You can start with one, but it has to be narrowed down to be effective. The brain doesn’t do well with lots of options at once.
We wrap up today with a quote by Max Dupree: “In the end, it is important to remember we cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”