Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Title of 'Leader'

When an individual is in a position of power, it is traditional to call them a leader. But does a title necessarily make someone a leader?

The label of leader, when applied to an individual in authority, doesn’t always mean they have great leadership abilities. In business, one’s ascension to a position above their capabilities has become so commonplace that it is almost a proverb.

Perhaps it is not a proverb, but there is a term for it. According to the “Peter Principle,” an organization's members will eventually be promoted beyond their level of ability. More commonly phrased, "employees tend to rise to their own level of incompetence."

A title is irrelevant. Leadership qualities do not instantly transfer to the man or woman who ascends to the new role.

The fact is, though, everyone will be called upon to be a leader at some point in their life – and that includes you! In the course of business, in the community, in your home or within your associations, there will come a time when a leader will be needed. What happens when all the eyes turn to you? Will you be ready?

You may be called upon to be the leader in your family when there’s been a crisis, an illness, or maybe just a big decision that affects the whole family. A financial crisis can happen at any time, such as the loss of a job, the loss of major accounts in your business or maybe just a physical accident that causes financial hardship. You may need to be the one to step up as a leader to address the changing situation.

Sometimes being a leader in your community can be a lone voice standing up for what’s right, when the masses want to go the other direction. Everyone has a “community”, and either you’re leading in that community or it’s being led by others. It’s important to know the true qualities of a leader, so you can help determine if you’re leading – or being led – correctly.

What happens when others look to you for the answers, for insights on the next steps to take? What if your family, your company or your community simply needs one person with a good attitude when everyone else around is losing their head? It’s not a title or a position. It is simply the influence of others. And odds are there will be countless times when you are called upon to lead.

The only question is, when YOU are called upon to lead, will you be ready?

My recommendation for further reading on this topic is Mark Sanborn, “You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader.”

Monday, July 9, 2012

Your Greatest Competition

your greatest competition
No matter your level of success, there is always at least one person who is out to beat you… determined to pass you and render you obsolete. Therefore, make sure that your greatest competitor is the future version of YOU.

How many times have you heard, “Your competition never sleeps?” How often have you been warned that your company should never be complacent, no matter your current level of success?

In the business world, competition is fierce. It is constant. When you are on top, many others are working on a plan to enhance what you provide, steal a share of your market, or worse, create the “game-changer” that makes your products or services obsolete. Even when you create the game-changer yourself, the competition is either already at work on the next one, or tearing your idea apart looking to create a better Version 2.0, while some simply want to knock you down.

Have you ever considered the same principles apply to you as an individual?

Perhaps you’ve seen someone plateau at work, only to be surpassed by a more determined candidate. Worse, you have probably witnessed someone take their eyes off the ball – through a lack of judgment or a misstep in character – virtually handing the prize to others.

Few recognize the power of competition, and even fewer will consider that competition important enough to warrant action. In time, those that fail to take action will be replaced, rendered obsolete, or at best left to dwell in relative mediocrity.

Most people reading this may think the message here applies to the business world, and only the business world. What if that same principle also carried over to every other aspect of your life? What if there is someone in competition for your spouse or significant other? What if someone is out to steal the attention of your children, vying to exert influence that should be reserved for you? What about your personal finances, and the financial principles that govern your treatment of money and your financial future?  Who is out to gain at your expense? Who is out to somehow negatively impact your mental, physical or spiritual fitness?

I don’t bring this up as some kind of “scare tactic”, but a true reminder that unless you’re PROactively improving your awareness, mindset and knowledge in the areas of business, family, finances and other key areas – you’re falling behind and leaving yourself vulnerable.

There is always someone out there trying to pass you, either by forging ahead or by bringing you down a notch. Sometimes both. Think about what is most important to you. Consider the fact that others are competing to take that away from you. What actions are you taking to assure that you’re able to overcome that competition, knowing that there will always be competitors?

Make the future version of you your greatest competition, and you’ll be starting on the right path for success and constant improvement in life and in business.