Tuesday, June 21, 2011

80% and GO!

Think about it: The first time you do something is all about learning. You tend to get the biggest insights about what NOT to do.

This can be either disturbing or encouraging.

Most often, when something is important to them, people tend to plan and wait and plan (and plan some more) until they think everything is perfect.

It never is.

Naturally, we get better every time we experience something. So, what's the better solution to getting really good at something that is really important? Jump in and experience it as QUICKLY as possible as OFTEN as possible until you hone & fine tune it to your ultimate goal of excellence. We have to get past the "I'm not 100% sure what I'm doing" phase and to the much more profitable (and enjoyable) "I know what I'm doing" phase - quickly - to gain a competitive edge.

At Disney, we used to call this "80% and Go". It meant that when we were about 80% sure it was the right thing to do, we initiated action - even if we weren't quite sure of the details. The plan was to be hyper-aware of the feedback/learning you get at every step and adjust as best you can in the moment. Some Fortune 500 companies call this "rapid iteration". It simply means "the way to develop mastery is to do it as fast and as often as possible and learn your way to success".

What things are YOU planning/waiting on today?

Think about it. But more importantly, do something about it...today!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Leader's Pathway

There is one primary measure of a leader: Do they have followers? It's been said that a leader without followers is just someone out taking a walk. Trite sayings aside, what does a good leader do that others do not?

The three things that set a good leader apart from "wanna-be's" is that he/she:

1. Knows the way - An effective leader has done the research to understand how long-term success works. They focus not only on getting results, but how they achieve those results. Building a working knowledge of operations, finances, and people (both employees and customers) lays the foundation of "getting the tools in the toolkit".

2. Goes the way - Having tools is nice, but it doesn't accomplish anything unless the tools are taken out and utilized. Followers universally expect their leaders to have integrity. In addition to knowing how things should be, a good leader "walks the talk" - being an example of how to actually do the right things right - and achieve sustainable success. Someone once said: "You can read all the books in the world about swimming, but unless you actually get in the water, you probably won't be much of a swimmer." Leaders actually perform.

3. Shows the way - In addition to knowing and doing, a great leader develops others along the way. While the primary responsibility of a leader is to help others accomplish goals, growing other leaders in the process is what leaves the longest-lasting legacy. Making a difference in what you can do is good. Helping multiplied leaders make a difference (domino effect of developing leaders who, in turn, develop additional leaders, and so on) is the measure of truly great leaders.

Which kind of leader are you? What path are you on? What legacy are you creating?

Think about it. But more importantly, do something about it...today!