This is the last Leading Thoughts of August 2019. Next week we step into “emotional fall.” I know the astronomists tell us that fall doesn’t start for a while yet, but our kids and grandkids are off to school, football teams of every type are practicing, temperatures are starting to moderate a bit, and I walked through an Atlanta airport mid-day yesterday that was nearly empty.
Summer is over, folks. It’s fall, dang it!
So before we get all focused on fall agendas and leadership, let’s close out the summer in this Leading Thoughts. I’ve received a lot of questions from you about my own leadership development. Let me answer them here, as many and as briefly as I can.
- Biggest turning point in my personal leadership style? When one of my team members told me I always seemed bored by him and another told me he never felt important in my presence. I made changes, believe me.
- Hardest leadership lesson? I had to leave a firm I had led successfully because of a marital crisis. Found myself alone. I had built a great firm but not a band of brothers to do life with. Won’t make that mistake again.
- Greatest leadership strength? Communication first, then building teams.
- My biggest mistake as a leader? I constantly emphasized the difference between my Yankee self and West Texans when I worked in that part of the country. It was foolish. Second, I was stupidly merciful and didn’t transition out certain people I knew I should have when I led a large organization. It proved a cancer on the firm, even after I left. My fault.
- The leaders I most admire today? Dave Ramsey, Don Miller, General James Mattis, King Abdullah of Jordan.
- The most important book I’ve read about business? The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt.
- The person in history who has most shaped my leadership style? Winston Churchill.
- The one kind of person I most need to be teamed with? The process/finance genius. I have the vision, the communication skills, most of the plan, and the sales skills. I need the master of the process and the finances who is both loyal and bold.
- Favorite business maxim: “The right thing to do is always the right thing to do.”
- Second favorite business maxim: “Fortune favors the bold.”
- Dream job: Head of a Dave Ramsey-style organization devoted to helping men be their best. And I’m building it!
- Deepest hurt as a leader: Betrayal by friends.
- Most despised trait among leaders: Cowardice.
- Most despised substitute for leadership: Being an actor, not a leader.
- Worst leader you know: A cowardly actor who is in religious leadership. Won’t say his name.
- My biggest leadership challenge: Monitoring the details, where the devil lives!
- How I best rest? Working out, fun travel with Bev, reading next to Bev, Drambuie in hand.
Where are you a heretic when compared to modern leadership theory? I despise the one-size-fits-all approach to leadership of some gurus today. I believe there are many leadership styles. All can work if rightly teamed and devoted to a workable vision. I like diversity of personalities. I’m inspired by the variety of gifts we all have. Teaming and focusing all of this is leadership. I love it when misfits band together and do something marvelous because their gifts mesh and they are passionate about a noble purpose.