Ethics are a cornerstone. I have always known that success for me would be guided by principles. And the way you get to the next deal is to lay it straight. But I want to create an environment where everyone wants to keep playing. In business, people always want to know who you are—in other words, will you do what you say, will you make a reliable partner? Reputation is your most important asset. Prize Loyalty I believe loyalty defines your character. Do you consider their circumstances as much as you consider your own?
As you can imagine, for someone in my position, loyalty and trust are priceless commodities. And they go both ways. Ego and pride have their places, but when they are not self-regulated, they can be detrimental, if not debilitating.
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But for me the Eleventh Commandment implies something more. Go All In The minute you acknowledge that a problem is insurmountable, you fail. I equate this fundamental truth with an entrepreneurial mind-set. In my world, I call that being an owner. An entrepreneur is always looking for a new opportunity. But whatever you decide to do, invest everything you have in it— excel. Most of the deaths on Everest occur on the descent —after a climber reaches the top.
The reason so many accidents happen on the descent is because people use everything they have—all of their energy reserves—to get to the top, and then they have nothing left in them to get themselves back down the mountain. Every year there are mountaineers who collapse just below the summit; many of them die there. Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.
You have to know yourself well enough to judge when it is time to turn around and head back down. And you need to make that call when you still have enough energy left to descend.
The hard part is that quite often that turn around point is before you reach the summit. The number one goal of any expedition: come back alive. Number two is come back with all of your fingers and toes.
Tagging the top of a mountain should never be the goal. The goal is getting back down—finishing well. Many leaders struggle with finishing well.
I often feel obligated to pay when we go out, which does bother me sometimes. They usually whine about me being a cheap miser. They undermine their leadership thus keeping them from achieving greatness. Katherine Benziger refers to the natural specialised area as the 'preferred thinking and behavioural mode'. Turn the Ship Around!
Ironically, success plants the seeds for derailment. Success encourages complacency and arrogance both of which erode character and obstruct growth. Finishing well requires a lifelong commitment to self-awareness and growth. And that means feedback.
Any leader that struggles with openness to feedback is flirting with disaster. Finishing well is not an event. It is a process. It is a discipline—a road that the self-aware leader embarks on.
Leaders who finish well develop these characteristics as part of their leadership style:. They have a purpose beyond their own self-interests. They maintain the intellectual, emotional and spiritual reserves necessary to get them to the finish line. They know the goal is getting to the finish line with their character intact. They know they must rely on others and are willing to listen and learn.
N OT surprisingly, Joseph Badaracco has written an essential read for leaders of all kinds. The Good Struggle addresses the question of how to lead successfully and responsibly in our uncertain, high pressure, turbulent world. Badaracco says that the inescapable pressures of leadership are intensified today because of the market-driven world in which we live. This creates greater uncertainty, obscures right choices, and puts pressure on us to abandon principles that we used to rely on. He offers five enduring—inescapable—questions.
Responsible leadership consists of thoughtful and lived answers to them. Am I Really Grappling with the Fundamentals? It is the struggle to develop—to the extent possible—a deep, careful, analytical, data-driven understanding of the driving forces in the markets and society around them and to keep this understanding loose, flexible, and revisable. It also promotes modesty, a healthy, low-level paranoia, and vigilance rather than hubris.
He notes that everything now is modular—constantly being recombined.
The natural instinct is to take care of yourself, here and now. We need a broader view of critical decisions. Instead of viewing them as deep, abiding pledges that we must make good on, we need to see them more as evolving commitments. In different ways, each of these helps leaders and organizations respond to the risks and opportunities created by pervasive market forces. People seek positions of leadership not despite the struggles involved, but because of them.
But the insights and provocative concepts are enough to get you thinking in new ways. The problem is we view struggle as a negative. But struggle is how we grow. We like to think of our leaders as flawless. We like to be perceived as flawless—or at least we like people to think we have everything under control. It may sound counterintuitive, but considering the benefits illuminated by Stephen Snyder in Leadership and the Art of Struggle , we should welcome it as an important element of the leadership process and our own personal development.
Struggles have three defining characteristics: Change : Every struggle is triggered by some type of change. Tensions : Change creates a natural set of tensions. Being out of Balance : Change and its ensuing tensions throw a leader off balance. This may happen without us even being aware of it, but acknowledgement of it is central to regaining control. In the world we live in today, this is a common occurrence often leading to burnout unless we learn to see struggle through a different lens.
Snyder recommends:. Adopt a growth mindset.
The first step in accomplishing this is through reflection—being aware of what is going on around you. Center your mind, body and spirit. Build your support community. Overcome your blind spots. Blind spots by their very nature are hard to recognize.