Each one of us has our own memories from our childhood that we cherish. There are the good ones and then there are the not so good ones. There are those nuggets of information we’ve managed to retain because they are so deeply embedded within us that it becomes second nature, it forms part of who we are, shapes the way we think, influences the decisions we make and gives us the individual personalities we’ve developed over the years. Great memories and good experiences are apparently the best gift parents could give their children.
Growing up I never realized the importance or the wisdom in my dad’s words. It took me a long time to realize how they have shaped my thoughts, my actions, my outlook and my personality as a whole. Here are the three important things that have shaped my thoughts, actions, behavior over the years and hopefully as leaders you’ll take something away from it too.
- Never stop asking questions, be inquisitive and keep asking the question, “Why”.
- Half-baked knowledge on any subject is awfully dangerous.
- One man can lead a horse to the river, 10 men can’t make it drink.
Never stop asking questions, be inquisitive and keep asking the question, “Why” – Inquisitiveness is probably the best gift you can give your kids or your team members and everyone within your organization. If the Neanderthal man was satisfied with the progress he had made we wouldn’t have advanced to who we are today. If humanity was satisfied with the dial-up 9K Baud modems of the 80’s, multiple-mode fibre that carry Gigabits of data wouldn’t have seen light of day. It’s our desire to improve, our desire to progress, our desire to understand why and improve on where we are, who we are that makes us push the boundaries of science and helps us discover. It helps us innovate. It all starts with a simple question, “Why” and “Why not”.
There is no better gift you can give you kids, your teams or your organization than the ability to challenge the status-quo and ask “Why” and “Why not”. Seed the right attitude within your teams and your organizations and you’ll find that you’ve given them the opportunity to be creative, helping them ask the right questions, helping them identify the right opportunities for you, all because they’ve decided that the status-quo isn’t good enough, all because you encouraged them to ask, “Why”.
Half-baked knowledge on any subject is awfully dangerous. – As a leader life throws you into different situations on a daily basis. At times you are tasked to work with project teams and situations that deal with concepts that you’ve got absolutely no experience on. How do you survive is the question. You’ve not only got to stay afloat but you’ve also got to deliver and succeed. To be a successful leader you have to teach yourself to keep learning. Learning never ends and as life throws you into different situations you learn to stay focussed on learning. Leadership is about getting into the deep, developing a knack of picking up relevant concepts that you require to stay afloat as the world around you changes and learn to lead for success. Learning is a never ending process and once you’ve been tasked with a new challenge go ahead and immerse yourself into the subject. Speak to the experts and learn everything you need to know about it to be successful. Any expert who admits that he or she is an expert and knows it all is an expert you should surely stay away from. Successful leaders are leaders who can adapt, they are people who can change, they are people who can see opportunities where others can’t and are able to pick up new concepts, learn and make things work for them and the organization. The next time you are tasked with something new, dig deeper and get to know everything you need to about it. You should wake up in the morning thinking about different ways to improve on what you did yesterday.
One man can lead a horse to the river, 10 men can’t make it drink. – This is probably tougher that the other two but as a leader you’ve got a lot to take away from this one. As leaders you are tasked with leading your team to success, you are tasked with bringing about change and you are tasked with making things work. But most of the times you don’t even have control on the people you need to work with and some of those individuals don’t even report into you. So how do you as a leader influence those around you in such a way so that they are not just coming to work to warm their chairs but rather buy into your vision and are working with you in making the program or business a success. As a leader you should understand the importance of getting everyone on your program to buy into your vision. You need to get everyone on the same page, enthusiastic about what needs to be achieved and pulling in the same direction. None of this easy and it’s your actions that will speak louder than your words. To get the team to buy into your vision, your goals, your objectives they have to see value in what you are saying and understand the role that they are expected to play in it while understanding how it will change their lives or the lives of their customers in a positive way. Paint a picture of success and help them understand their role in it. Success is that much easily obtained when everyone understands and believes in the outcome of the program. You don’t need to then force them to go to the river. They will go to the river of their own accord and have their drink.
Understanding yourself and getting to know yourself as a leader, is an on-going process which simply never ends and should not end. And there is an important reason why self-reflection and self-realization is important. As we move along in life, it’s our experiences that shape us, some for the good and some for the bad. It’s these experiences we go through, the memories we retain and the habits we form out of them that make us who we are. Self-realization and self-reflection is important for it helps us understand what we stand for, it helps us understand what makes us tick and most important it provides food for thought on areas of improvement.
- What experiences of yours have changed the way you behave
- Are there any memories or past experiences that influence your behavior today
- What nuggets of information do you carry as part of your DNA that make you who you are
Write to us and share your lessons of success with us. We are keen to learn from your experiences too.