I am working towards my next promotion at work. In preparation for this, I’ve been spending time going through mock interviews. Recently, one interviewer gave me this question: “As a manager, it is often said that you can influence 10% of change. Where would you focus this effort to get your maximum impact?”
So…where would you focus? Whether you’re looking at being a retail manager or coach or entreprenaur or whatever… where would you focus?
My mind raced at the sound of this question… there are so many things that are important to a business! I could respond with visual merchandizing, progressiveness/change management, forecasting, marketing… so many hugely important things… but I stepped back for a second and listened to my gut…” people.”
The most important step in leadership is investing in your people. You are only as good as your people. As a leader, your success needs to be measured by the success of your people. Being an advocate, a developer, a teacher, a friend, a coach, and a motivator – these are contagious behaviors that create a culture of success in any leadership position – and it is perpetuating. People helping people (cheesy youtube video – beware!).
The other key to success as a leader is having a growth mindset. This includes believing that people can becoming better, more, stronger, and that people have a limitless capacity. Even if people struggle with growing – this will set you up for the best way to invest in those around you as well as yourself. Think about athletes: Athletes are always training to improve. They do not simply tell themselves “my muscles simply cannot get stronger.” That fixed mindset is so limited. They continue to strive for betterness.
So, fellow leaders: Strive for more, invest in your people, and believe in those around you. Grow your people, be an advocate, and be good to everyone around you. And have fun doing it! Everything else can come out of these two qualities. Lives are being changed and you’re driving your metrics and success simultaneously. People helping people.
I’m a nerd. I’ll own it.
Sometimes i find myself falling into these wikipedia black holes, where i’m following one link to another to another…
Recently I found myself learning about the Law of Attraction (after reading Jim Carrey’s wiki page) which basically states that what we aspire to, we will become. So…if we seek out things that are sad or melancholy, we will inherit that and become sad and melancholy. However, if we seek out happiness, joy, and goodness in the world around us, we will find that too.
Check out a brief summary here. And seek what is good, fair, joyous, and awe-inspiring. We live in a pretty amazing world and it’d be a real shame if we didn’t see that first hand from time to time. Remember – as leaders, we want to inspire others to believe in greatness – but we first should also believe and experience that joy.
A month ago, a friend of mine (we’ll call her “Fran”) mentioned how she “has not been given an opportunity to grow” in her current role. Fran has been working in a small company role in sales for awhile and has seen other people chosen over her for the next role up. Fran confessed to me that she has “waited and waited and waited” for a superior to pluck her from obscurity and to commend her on being a “steady contributor” to her company. Fran is still in her role and isn’t going to leave that company just yet – but she feels frustrated.
Fran made me feel frustrated.
The world does not promote people who are “good.” How many baseball teams win world championships with players that are “good?” Likewise, how many AAA (minor league) ball players complain they’ve never been given a chance? Trust me…if someone is hits 50 homeruns for a minor league team in one year, it will be awfully hard for a team in the big leagues to not love the idea of having them on their team.
Don’t wait for your “opportunity” or for someone to “give you a chance.” It just doesn’t happen that often.
Instead, you determine your destiny. You are in charge of where you go in life, be it with a job, sports, social situations, whatever. If you are a leader, LEAD! Take control of your situation and earn your reward. Make yourself an unstoppable and amazing force that a higher-up in a company cannot help but lavish further responsility upon. Don’t aspire to be “good enough” – aspire to be the most amazing whatever in the world.
Our biggest blockade in growing or being successful is apprehension towards harnessing our potential.
If you want something, go get it. Don’t you dare give up until you’ve made it…. and when you get whatever you’re working towards, remember what happened and how amazing you proved yourself to be during that process…and how much more amazing you will continue to be as you grow.
I’m a big football fan.
Recently, my favorite team, the Chicago Bears, hired a new coach named Marc Trestman. As with any new coach of a football team, Trestman has the huge responsibility of molding his team to his vision. Anyways… recently the Chicago Tribune published a newspaper headline that caught my attention in ways beyond football:
“Trestman whiffs on chance to make point”
I began to apply this to non-football life. I wonder… how often can that headline pertain to us in situations around leadership? How easily could our name be substituted for Trestman’s? “Matt whiffs on chance to make point.” The opposite could also work: “Matt succeeds on chance to make point.”
Every moment is a chance for us to mold the world around us to our vision, passion, and dreams. We can whiff or we can hit. How often do you consider each and every moment an opportunity to influence?