The Harvard Business Review recently published a brief, but highly relevant article titled, Learning from Heroes. The premise of the article is that we, like all of our heroes, whether Hercules, Luke Skywalker or Jack Welsh, struggle with five recurring challenges as we journey through work and life:
- We wander without knowing where we’re going
- Data and circumstances confuse us
- Fear blocks us from acting
- Change paralyzes us
- Despite our best intentions, we talk more than we listen
Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten, the authors of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time, state that “An examination of business writing from the past 30 years shows that these challenges emerge again and again – and the best books offer simple yet profound lessons for overcoming them.”
- Find a clear purpose
- Be aware that past experience and a mass of information can interfere with wise decisions
- Maintain a bias toward action
- Be open to change
- Seek feedback
Based on their extensive reading, writing and study of companies and their leadership, the authors state that it is painfully obvious that companies continually fail to absorb, understand and leverage these simple lessons.
So what about you and your leadership of yourself, your team, your department, your division, your colleagues, your company, your life? The question is not what you say or even what or how you feel; the question is: “what do you do?” Do you continually and passionately lead, coach, support and reward those who:
- Find and maintain clear purpose and execute based on that clear purpose?
- Develop and maintain awareness that past experience and a mass of information can interfere with wise decisions?
- Develop and maintain a bias toward action?
- Are not only open to change, but seek and enthusiastically embrace change that produces positive results?
- Seek and effectively use feedback?
Every leader, in every organization throughout the world, would be wise and do very well to block out significant time to carefully consider and honestly answer these important questions… and of course seek feedback from others regarding each of these critical leadership questions. There will be plenty of opportunities for positive growth and improvement… I guarantee it.
Once a quarter is not too often!