Successful leaders in the Marines and other branches of the military teach us that the mission stands – no matter what. Taking the hill to liberate or protect our troops must happen. Anyone in a leadership role in the military with the proper leadership skills knows that failure is not an option. How we do it is the variable, but the mission is the mission. Period.
Things are usually different with business leaders. Too often we CEOs are not effective leaders because we allow the goal to be diminished or scrapped when obstacles stand in our way. We back off when things get hard or when we’re stumped about how to move forward. What a pity.
Maintain Your Standards
The problem in business is that the stakes are usually not high enough. No one is going to “die.” Our country, our families, our friends will not be destroyed; and that makes it easier to compromise the mission.
But we can take a page from the best leaders and go beyond a focus on good decision making. We can adopt a visionary warrior mindset, decide what the future will be despite perhaps unreasonable odds and put a stake deep in the ground. Then it’s a matter of tapping our emotional intelligence and superior communication skills and aligning our team members.
A characteristic of great leaders is that they start by choosing a highly important and ambitious goal and ask, as President Kennedy famously did: Why not? Why not put a man on the moon by the end of the decade? Or like Jeff Bezos: Why not build an online store that sells “everything”? Or Richard Branson “Why not start a company called Virgin?” Well exactly. As he said, “Screw it, let’s do it!”
What these great leaders know is that what most of us see as impossible is simply what’s over the horizon. We can’t see that far but it’s there and the most successful leaders feel it intuitively. Adopt that mentality, and you can move mountains.
Next week, I’ll tell you how to implement being a better leader and how to attract other people to your team who can execute your vision!