Leadership Excellence… The Ultimate Strategy

Be Silent – Listen – Learn – Prepare – Serve – Lead

One of the best and most succinct quotations I have ever read regarding leadership excellence is as follows:

We must be silent before we can listen. We must listen before we can learn. We must learn before we can prepare. We must prepare before we can serve. We must serve before we can lead. –William Arthur Ward

Most of us are so focused on the present, on the urgent, and on our “To Do” lists that we do not follow the sound and logical sequence advocated by William Arthur Ward.

Think about it.  Most people do not truly listen.  Via their actions and behavior (actions speak so much louder than words), they refuse to block out everything else, be silent and listen.  In fact, good-to-great listeners are almost as rare as lottery winners!  With very rare exceptions, we are a frantic, multi-tasking society of extremely poor listeners (and readers).

Individually and collectively, we pay a high personal, professional and organizational price for our conscious or unconscious refusal to follow tried-and-true formulas for true and lasing leadership excellence such as… Be Silent – Listen – Learn – Prepare – Serve – Lead.

Shortcuts are in vogue big time in our society.  Shortcuts permeate virtually every aspect of our planning, living, working and execution.  I am not against shortcuts.  In fact, those who know me well know I love many shortcuts… such as those made possible by technology advances.  However, when it comes to leadership excellence for the long term, there are very few shortcuts.  Study the best leaders and the best organizations in America and throughout the world and you quickly realize there are very few, if any, shortcuts to developing and maintaining leadership excellence.  In fact, many so called “leadership experts and leadership thought leaders” believe that leadership excellence is achieved only after some 20 to 30 years of diligent study and practice.

Leadership excellence is the ultimate strategy for achieving your mission and the mission of the organizations you serve.  Leadership excellence, particularly over the long term, trumps every other strategy.  It always has, it always will.  Plain and simple… over the long term, leadership excellence wins.

So why is there not more emphasis and focus on leadership excellence throughout our society?  The answer has to do with short term thinking, short term focus and a fixation on finding shortcuts to meet the expectations of the here and now.

Very few people and very few organizations are willing to pay the price and consistently follow proven or even experimental models necessary to develop and maintain leadership excellence.  Let’s face it, the following words and concepts are anything but in vogue in most of our society: discipline, time, focus, years of hard work, years of practice, continual adjustments, inviting and accepting change, giving up old habits, creating and maintaining new habits, etc.

However, for the few people and organizations that choose to pursue leadership excellence, the journey as well as the results and lessons learned are well worth the effort.  Publications such as The Harvard Business Review and Fortune Magazine are full of interviews and articles that reaffirm that leadership excellence is the ultimate strategy for achieving your mission and the mission of the organizations you serve.

Be Silent – Listen – Learn – Prepare – Serve – Lead

The quotation and the sequence of the formula are well worth remembering and incorporating into every aspect of your daily schedule and your life in general.   Leadership Excellence… The Ultimate Strategy!

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I am a leader, speaker, and author who is passionate about Leadership Excellence and Achieiving Greater Success. I am the author of the books Be An Inspirational Leader(2016) and Presidential Leadership (2013), and deliver keynote presentations on those topics and several others.

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