Challenging your own conventional wisdom

Many of today’s most powerful strategies and systems were derived from leadership thinking that challenged conventional wisdom. But empowerment, systemization, process management, open-book management, Team-Based Pay and other contemporary approaches to achieving breakthrough results will surely fail if the leader’s beliefs and thinking conflict in any way. Here’s a Neilism to drive that point home: “Leadership beliefs and thinking must align with strategies for measurable results to occur.”

For leaders, few challenges eclipse the need to objectively examine one’s basic beliefs about leading people. Leaders must do this in order to harness and organize your team’s collective efforts and achieve the right outcomes. The issue is that beliefs about leading people can work for or against you. For example, if your belief is that people cannot be trusted, it is unlikely that those you lead will trust you in return.

To become a no-compromise leader, you must unlearn many of your past practices.

  • You must find new ways of challenging your beliefs, so you can be open to new ideas and opportunities.
  • You must create your own compelling reasons to change your beliefs about leadership. Begin by answering two simple questions: 1) If you continue your current leadership thinking and behavior, will you ever achieve the results you seek? 2) If you change and adopt new leadership thinking and behavior, what would the possibilities look like?
  • You must stop resisting new ideas, concepts and points of view that differ from those that supported your past successes. What got you here is no guarantee for success tomorrow.
  • You must adopt a mindset that helps foster more fulfilling relationships in your organization. Lead to serve. Lead to win.
  • You must believe that it’s not only possible to find a more enlightened path as a no-compromise leader, but that it’s your responsibility to your company, your employees, your customers and yourself.

Knowledge can be defined as information organized in a framework that renders that information useful. Simply put, it might be that your context for viewing information about leadership is significantly reducing or even preventing its effective use. Very often, your mindset stands as an invisible shield to innovation and learning, and renders you informed but not knowledgeable. To become more knowledgeable, you will have to accelerate a process of self-examination and resist the temptation to seek simple answers. To accomplish that, the no-compromise leader must keep his ego in check or it will render any attempt at self-examination pointless.

This process is a difficult one. Even for the leader who is willing to challenge his or her mindset, the task can be daunting. We simply don’t have good methods for challenging the way we think. Without good methods, many leaders don’t explore their own assumptions and have instead, chosen to experiment with behavioral models that are easy to understand, easy to apply, and often give a leader a greater sense of predictability and control. For many, these approaches represent a sensible solution to the question of how to continually upgrade one’s leadership skills. Predictably, these methods rarely stimulate meaningful improvement beyond a quick but fleeting jolt in productivity.

No-compromise leadership is not achieved via quick jolts or instant upgrades. It’s achieved via a profound shift at the core of a leader’s thinking.

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Please share your thoughts with me about today’s Monday Morning Wake-Up. Click above to comment.

Pass this e-mail on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They’ll appreciate it.


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