Posted in Adversity, Honesty, Influence, Integrity, Leadership, Relationships, Vision, Wisdom, tagged Courage, Culture, Encouragement, Fear, Forgiveness, Influence, Inspiration, Integrity, leadership, purpose, Relationship, success, Work on April 12, 2012 |
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The last seven days have yielded one of the most powerful displays of leadership that I have ever witnessed. Even if you are not a sports fan, you have likely heard the recent saga of University of Arkansas Football Coach Bobby Petrino. While there are undoubtedly critical lessons we need to learn from Coach Petrino’s story, the REAL leadership story is found in University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long.
This is a story of a leader who found himself in what most people described as a “no-win” situation. Jeff Long had an employee on his team who was an incredible performer. He had achieved almost superstar status from his “customers”. Revenue was at an all-time high largely due to this employee. The national buzz was off the charts and the future looked even brighter than the past. This is a story that we often see in the marketplace, isn’t it? As the leader, what do you do? The only thing riding on the decision is the psyche of a state, a potential national championship and the near-term future of the University of Arkansas.
A good case could be made for forgiveness with discipline. Let’s keep the train on the tracks. Let’s do what most other leaders do. Let’s do what the “world” tells us to do. That is NOT what Jeff Long chose to do.
I have included the full press conference here. If you haven’t seen it, please take time to watch it. You will be amazed. If you have seen it, I encourage you to watch it again. But this time, watch it with your leadership eyes. Go to school on what you see here from a courageous leader.
Here’s a sampling of the leadership lessons I learned:
- Integrity - Doing the right thing, is never the wrong thing.
- Wisdom and Courage - have the wisdom to know what to do, and the courage to do it.
- Compassion - his heart is deeply connected to the mission. He hurt for everyone who lost in this situation (especially the players).
- Details - a great leader is willing to understand and execute.
- Decisiveness - his assuredness created a persuasive confidence in the masses.
- Vision - communicating the future state with confidence creates emotion and commitment.
- Choices - as leaders we face them everyday. Are we willing to do the right thing no matter what the outcome?
- Excuses – it was never about Jeff Long. You can only imagine the turmoil he went through.
- Passion - do we really care about the mission and purpose of our work?
- Influence - last…our work is a platform for influence. Jeff Long made the hard choice. The by-product is an impact in thousands of peoples lives that you can have honor and integrity.
Thanks Jeff…for giving us hope. For allowing your life at work to be a bright light for the rest of us.
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WorkMatters founder Tom Frase taught on the pillar of Excellence at our November Eight to Five. He will continue to share his thoughts over the next few weeks defining more clearly how we achieve excellence in our work.
Collins in his book Good to Great says that great companies find their “hedgehog idea.” If you’ve not read the book, let me explain the idea briefly and inadequately. (You should really read the book.) He says that great companies find where three different ideas converge: What they can be the best in the world at; what drives their economic engine; what they are deeply passionate about. He says that where those three circles overlap, that’s your hedgehog idea – that’s the idea that you always stick to, and that’s the idea the makes you great.
I think this can apply to our personal lives as well. But with a bit of modification. I would argue that the three circles for an individual seeking excellence in their work are: Our unique gifting (strengths), Our unique circumstances, Expectations from those we serve, both employers and customers. When these three circles converge, we can demonstrate excellence, even in a job that perhaps is not our favorite job in the world. That means that a street sweeper, or marketing manager, or third shift supervisor can demonstrate excellence in their work, even it their work is not their dream job.
Now I also believe that we should strive to find the job that we are best at in the world, that we are deeply passionate about, and that someone will pay us to do. That makes excellence easy, but in reality, most of us will not find that in our work. And it’s because work is never going to be paradise. I am blessed to feel like I am working in my calling, working in my strengths, and I have an organization willing to pay me for the work. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have frustrations, stress, failures and fatigue. Work will always be work.
But we should show excellence regardless of how “perfect” our job is for us. We may be under employed, have a terrible boss, difficult clients or a declining market. Nevertheless, if we can align our gifts and talents with a clear understanding of how we see excellence in our job, and in line with the expectations of those who pay us and those we serve, we can demonstrate excellence. And when that happens, we have a much better chance of making a difference in our world as well as our future.
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Posted in Excellence, Goals, Pride, Relationships, Seven Pillars of Faith and Work, tagged Credit, glory, grow, Pillars, plant, Relationship, rewarded, Seven Pillars, success, water, Work on October 4, 2011 |
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Each of us have been given a specific role in our work. For some of us, it’s clearly defined. For others, it seems to change every day. But we each have our gifts and abilities that we bring to the job.
Some of us are really good at what we do. Our impact is real. Maybe even visible. And it’s human nature to be proud of our accomplishments. We may even be tempted to make sure our accomplishments are known. To make sure…we get the credit. Why? We have ego’s. We have house payments. We have goals and aspirations.
But our friend Paul, gives us a great visual image of how that needs to look if we are focused on our Relationship with God at work. He encourages us to plant. He encourages us to water. But he is very clear about who makes things grow!
I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 1 Corinthians 3:6-8
In our self-centered world, it’s hard to do our jobs with excellence, then give God all the glory. If we are to “succeed”, we need some of that glory. And indeed, this story tells us that we will be rewarded! That reward may not be what we expect it to be, but we will be rewarded nonetheless!
Let’s PLANT. Let’s WATER. And let’s let God GROW.
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