What Great Coaches Do

A great coach insists on excellence

 

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Pickle Tour – a Lesson in Entrepreneurship

My leadership team and I are going to tour the Sechler pickle factory today.  Sechler’s is located just north of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and they make the best pickles. I’m a huge fan of their Hungarian Red Pepper relish. 

Max Troyer, owner, will be meeting us there today. We’re looking forward to a great time of seeing entrepreneurship and excellence in action.
Here’s a story Fox Business did on Sehler’s:

http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2014/11/07/0-year-old-pickle-companys-success-story.html

What will we learn from pickle picking leaders today?

If You Want to be a Poor Leader…by Jim Murray

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Thou shalt:

1. Never take risks — for you will only increase the chance of making a lot of mistakes. And that will make your followers believe you are fallible.

2. Never let your emotions show — especially your passion or enthusiasm for your work. People will think you’re a wuss.

3. Avoid professional development opportunities — and discourage the desire to do so in others. You’ll save the company a lot of money. And that will make your shareholders very happy.

4. Always have a good excuse handy — and the more complicated the better. Never take the blame for anything. It’s important that you exude a strong presence as commander-in-chief.

5. Always point out the faults in others — and do it in as scathing and biting a way as is humanly possible such that they will never forget your richly deserved dressing down. After all, your fundamental purpose as leader is to improve performance and that means people must know what behaviours need correcting.

6. Never share your knowledge or wisdom with subordinates — they will inevitably use it to undermine your authority and then seek to replace you at the top. Your tenure will be short so why make it even shorter?

7. Never ask a question you cannot answer yourself — people will think you are incompetent if you don’t know what to do. After all, isn’t telling people what needs to be done the essence of leadership today?

8. Always micromanage the really important projects — that way you’ll get done exactly what you want done. And your staff will greatly appreciate your help.

9. Always assume your organization’s competitive advantage is permanent — there’s no use worrying about the things you cannot control.

10. Always endeavour to appear unapproachable — this will save you a lot of time as people will be forced to deal with their own problems. Isn’t that how people learn to become better problem solvers? (And time is, after all, your most precious asset.)

Great article. Read the rest here: http://www.lawyersweekly.ca/index.php?section=article&articleid=1984&rssid=4

Pursuit by Michael Myatt

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One of the most often overlooked aspects of leadership is the need for pursuit. Great leaders are never satisfied with traditional practice, static thinking, conventional wisdom, or common performance. In fact, the best leaders are simply uncomfortable with anything that embraces the status quo.

Leadership is pursuit – pursuit of excellence, of elegance, of truth, of what’s next, of what if, of change, of value, of results, of relationships, of service, of knowledge, and of something bigger than yourself. In the text that follows I’ll examine the value of being a pursuer…

Here’s the thing – pursuit leads to attainment. What you pursue will determine the paths you travel, the people you associate with, the character you develop, and ultimately, what you do or don’t achieve. Having a mindset focused on pursuit is so critical to leadership that lacking this one quality can sentence you to mediocrity or even obsolescence. The manner, method, and motivation behind any pursuit is what sets truly great leaders apart from the masses. If you want to become a great leader, become a great pursuer.

A failure to embrace pursuit is to cede opportunity to others. A leader’s failure to pursue clarity leaves them amidst the fog. Their failure to pursue creativity relegates them to the routine and mundane. Their failure to pursue talent sentences them to a world of isolation. Their failure to pursue change approves apathy. Their failure to pursue wisdom and discernment subjects them to distraction and folly. Their failure to pursue character leaves a question mark on their integrity. Let me put this as simply as I can – you cannot attain what you do not pursue.

Smart leaders understand it’s not just enough to pursue, but pursuit must be intentional, focused, consistent, aggressive, and unyielding. You must pursue the right things, for the right reasons, and at the right times. Perhaps most of all, the best forms of pursuit enlist others in the chase. Pursuit in its purest form is highly collaborative, very inclusive and easily transferable. Pursuit operates at greatest strength when it leverages velocity and scale.

I also want to caution you against trivial pursuits – don’t confuse pursuit with simple goal setting. Outcomes are clearly important, but as a leader, it’s what happens after the outcome that you need to be in pursuit of. Pursue discovery, seek dissenting opinions, develop your ability unlearn by embracing how much you don’t know, and find the kind of vision that truly does see around corners.

Don’t use your pursuits to shift paradigms, pursue breaking them. Knowing what not to pursue is just as important as knowing what to pursue.

It’s important to keep in mind that nothing tells the world more about a leader than what or who they pursue – that which you pursue is that which you value. If you message to your organization you value talent, but don’t treat people well and don’t spend time developing the talent around you, then I would suggest you value rhetoric more than talent. Put simply, you can wax eloquent all you like, but your actions will ultimately reveal what you truly value.

Lastly, the best leaders pursue being better leaders. They know to fail in this pursuit is nothing short of a guarantee they’ll be replaced by those who don’t. All leaders would be well served to go back to school on what I refer to as the art and science of pursuitology.

What’s been the best thing you’ve pursued? What pursuit has led you astray. Thoughts?

Follow me on Twitter @mikemyatt