I have a dysfunctional relationship with cars. On one hand my list of saved cars online consists of everything from luxury dreams to more pragmatic family wagons, through to the suite of cars I’d like to own, including a completely done up old school VW Kombi (for summer) and a top of the line Landcruiser Sahara (for weekends.) On the other hand, I love my ten year old Black Toyota RAV 4 ZR6. I love it so much I treat it with the same level of love and dignity today than the day we first bought it home. It’s done some work for our family. It has the odometer reading to prove it. It has some war wounds from me, kids, car parks and all the memories its created. My mechanic rates it and I still like driving it. It’s longevity has a level of value, trust, consistency and relationship that I respect. I like how it feels, still looks, and performs. I treat the car with a sense of stewardship now, treating it well and making the timely and necessary adjustments along the way to make sure performance is optimised. Changes are more regularly, but often smaller and less obvious. The result? It keeps delivering optimal performance. Refinements over time make the performance more consistent. Oh, and my cars list keeps growing!
Leadership longevity is as much about refinements as it is about reinvention. Small changes done consistently can add up to big differences over time. The car that performs well has attention paid to it consistently BEFORE there is a problem to speak of. Consistently checking, refining, changing, adjusting. Keeping on track and performing as best as you can. Small changes over time make a big difference.
Leadership refinement begins with a deep commitment to rigorous personal reflection and courageous self discipline. It is sparked with the intentionality to change as well as the perseverance to see the changes through. Now that I’m into my third decade of leadership I’m convinced leadership longevity is a team sport. We all need help to succeed. Personal help, professional help, challenge, example, encouragement and opportunity. I’m convinced we won’t succeed alone.
Imagine checking yourself in for a leadership service. What do you make sure get’s checked? What’s on your list of things that need refining over time? What adjustments make the biggest difference to you and your leadership?
Mine revolve around these three uncomfortable confessions:
- I need to always be replacing ego for example – This refines the depth and authenticity of my humility.
- I must ensure that I’m using power for service – This refines the truth and depth of my surrender.
- I need a rhythm for bringing out greatness in others – This refines my desire & discipline to celebrate others.
How does this become a leadership rhythm we can all do?
- Curate a small team of truth tellers you will listen to no matter what.
- Theme out the feedback you get from them. Find the key refinement points.
- Deep dive (with help) about what the root causes are and map a change path.
- Seek equal amounts of encouragement and accountability.
- Reward your progress and learn from your failures.
Michelangelo is famously referenced as saying the beauty of the nature of David was already there. His mastery was taking away what was unnecessary, leaving the beauty of a refined work of art that had attention paid to it over time. Leaving a legacy housed in over five hundred years of beauty. In the same way, you will notice with these refinements is that trust is deepened by example and service. Culture is strengthened by example and celebration. Skills are leveraged by service and celebration.
Perhaps it’s time to book that service in?
This is for leaders. I am for leaders.