Why We Need Leaders

Leadership Excellence

The members of the board all sat with blank looks on their faces.  You could have heard a pin drop.

The issue on the table had been raised on multiple occasions but nothing had been done to resolve it.

It was clearly the responsibility of the facilities manager to fix the problem but he had been dragging his feet.  There was always something standing in his way.

He finally chirped up and said he could fix the problem but he could not say how long it would take, and he needed a new phone with appropriate software.  He had a long list of excuses.

SILENCE

I looked to the chairman for some kind of direction, but he sat looking puzzled. It was not my place, but I finally asked the facilities manager if he could develop a plan for us so we would know when the task would be completed.  He shrugged his shoulders.  “I suppose so.”   Still nothing from any of the other board members.  The facilities manager added that he would still need a new phone.

A couple of the board members said they thought they might have an extra phone they could provide.

The chairman finally said, “we need to move on to the next agenda item.”

ARGHHHH!!!  No decision, again!

It occurred to me that this was a perfect example of a lack of leadership.  If the chairman of the board or the committee chairman responsible for facilities had leadership skills, they would have taken action.  They would have made a decision and held the facilities manager accountable to at least present a plan to fix the problem.

  • How long would it take?
  • What resources would be required?
  • What could possibly prevent the completion of the project?
  • What will the final product look like?
  • What needed to be done to ensure that the problem did not recur?

What do leaders do?

  • Make decisions
  • Hold people accountable.
  • Take action
  • Bring a group to a consensus
  • Motivate others to take action

Leadership really isn’t that difficult.  All it really takes is a desire to keep the organization moving forward and a willingness to take action when needed.

The Perfect Leader

Leadership Excellence Trust

In the history of major league baseball there have only been 21 “perfect games”.

A perfect game in baseball is a game in which the pitcher does not allow any of the opposing players to reach base. The pitcher pitches the entire nine innings and only faces 27 batters.

I have been reading the chronology of perfect games in major league baseball.  One of the first perfect games was pitched by an alumnus of the college I attended.

When people talk about perfect games their focus is always on the pitcher, the leader. But, perfect games don’t happen without outstanding performances by the entire team. For the game to be “perfect” there can be no mistakes by the players in the field.  Most perfect games also include amazing performances by players other than the pitcher.

In business, politics and most other walks of life, organizations search for perfect leaders.

Organizations identify the characteristics of perfect leaders, and compile lists of the most outstanding leaders in history.

Unfortunately, in business and politics, we don’t have finite statistics to measure leadership. Unlike baseball, a leader’s success or failure is measured over months or years as opposed to the three hours it takes to pitch nine innings. But the perfect leader and the player who pitches a perfect game do have one thing in common. Their success is dependent upon the performance of their supporting cast.

Errors can destroy a perfect game in baseball.  In the same way, mistakes made by members of their team can destroy the legacy of business leaders.

A baseball pitcher has little or no input into who his teammates are.  Business and political leaders are given the opportunity to hand pick the members of their team.

Through the challenges they overcome, both the business leader and the baseball pitcher have the ability to inspire and give confidence to their teams. They can earn respect through their behavior, build momentum through consistent performance, and motivate their teams by recognizing their contributions. Most importantly, leaders and pitchers can help their teams believe in the reality of the goals they are pursuing.

What kind of leader are you?

  • Do you instill confidence?

  • Do you acknowledge the contributions of those on your team?

  • Do you behave in a consistent manner?

  • Do you help the members of your team believe in the vision you have helped create?

  • What do you want your legacy to be?

 

In my book, “A Garage Full of Ferraris”, I highlight the characteristics of 15 men and women who have experienced success as leaders of their respective organizations.  Their stories are inspiring.