1. Level V Leadership
2. The Stockdale Paradox
3. The Hedgehog Concept
The first idea I took away from the is book was the concept of “Level V Leadership.” The two things a Level V Leader embodies are, PROFESSIONAL WILL and PERSONAL HUMILITY. They use a “mirror and window” approach. For example, if you succeed, “Good to Great” (“G to G”) CEO’s looked OUT the window to give credit to their team, clients, the economy, and even good luck if there was no one else to give the credit to. The other thing G to G CEO’s did was look IN the mirror to take responsibility for failure. Regardless of who or what was responsible, they always took the blame if there was failure among their team.
Another Level V Leader concept I am focusing on making habit is the concept of a “Clock Maker” vs. a “Time Teller.” I want to become a leader that is teaching, mentoring, and preparing successors rather than telling them what to do and not empowering and preparing them to take their business to the next level on their own. The book refers to most leaders being a “Genius with a thousand helpers.” They leave whatever business they ran helpless when they leave. The next in line inherits “helpers” and not “leaders.”
The Stockdale Paradox focuses on the concept of the optimist vs. the realist with an unwavering faith that the end of the story will end in their favor. Stockdale was a war veteran that was in a POW camp and he never lost the FAITH, but he always faced the brutal FACTS. In business there is always the “possibility” that we can all have a great year, invent the next great thing, etc. However, the reality is that most business success is an “overnight” success that took 20 or more years. Most people forget that the great businesses of the world didn’t start that way. They started small and did all the “right” things when no one even cared who they were.
The book talks a lot about getting the “right” people involved and the “wrong” people dissolved from your business. The biggest eye opener for me was that they discovered that the “right” people DO NOT NEED TO BE MOTIVATED. They are self-motivated and our job as leaders is to not DEMOTIVATE them. The Stockdale Paradox helps ensure that we are facing the brutal facts head on in order to keep your “right” people from getting demotivated. Being an optimist can create unrealistic expectations for your “right” people and make them turn on you. According to Winston Churchill, we must keep the facts continuously updated and COMPLETELY UNFILTERED.
The Hedgehog Concept is from a story about how in the wild the fox (cunning, smart, complex, etc.) NEVER outwits the SIMPLICITY of the hedgehog’s defense. The hedgehog knows how to be the best at ONE thing and then does it. Think of all the meetings, planning, research, book reading, etc. that has been nothing more than a complex distraction leading to ZERO results. It is not that they were “bad ideas”; however, they weren’t simple enough to put into action right away.
What I took away from this section was to STOP trying to create the new and perfect system for the basic and SIMPLE things that make my business successful. I need to stop over thinking everything and just put ONE IDEA INTO IMMEDIATE ACTION. There’s always more to do, more to analyze, but when it comes to the simple basics that drive your business, KEEP IT SIMPLE. Unless your business specializes in rocket science, DON’T MAKE YOUR BUSINESS ROCKET SCIENCE.
I hope this brings some “ah-ha” ideas you can put into action and develop into habit the rest of this month like it did for me. Thanks again for inspiring me to be better each day. Make it happen my friends.