Leverage Experience to Advance with Passion
Right through the ages, challenges bedeviled the human race. These were in the form of fires, droughts, locusts, diseases, wars and a lot more. Some of these anomalies were natural and others purely man made. Every difficulty produces a new crop of game changers and at the same time pushes others to the periphery. The game changers are the ones who face their challenges head-on like an eagle. They leap over the fires like a springbok. In the current storm induced by the Covid19 pandemic, there is a choice on the part of leaders to leap over the challenges or to sit back like ducks and be overtaken by the wind of change. The world will never be the same again after the current wave. What we do in response to a crisis determines where we end up. If you cow down, you will be consumed by the fire. If you fail to adapt, you will surely die.
During the plague that ravaged England between 1665 and 1666, all business activity came to a standstill as a quarantine was imposed. Universities and other learning institutions were shut down. Isaac Newton was a student during that time. Having been quarantined like any other person, seated under an apple tree, he saw an apple falling culminating in the quest and inspiration to find the answers as to the force behind the falling. In the coming years, he put his thoughts on papers into what we call the laws of motion today.
Businesses and leaders in particular can Leverage Experiences to Advance with Passion. This entails using whatever is at one’s disposal for maximum advantage. Every event in history, whether positive or negative, carries within it the seed of opportunity for progress. Leveraging entails the application of what is at one’s disposal to bring about positive change. It is turning your lemons into lemonade. Every leader has an option of influencing situations or people as a way of controlling what happens.
The current mode of doing things, where there isn’t much physical interaction, carries within it great needs for the human race. No one can deny the urgent need to redefine the way business is done and the way we lead our lives This is besides the realization that societary needs remain inherent and they require men and women who rise to the stage to address such.
The LEAP Strategy is hinged upon Leveraging Experiences and entails a number of set routines that facilitate in propping one to higher and better levels than before.
“Real learning gets to the heart of what it means to be human. Through learning we re-create ourselves. Through learning we become able to do something we never were able to do. Through learning we re-perceive the world and our relationship to it. Through learning we extend our capacity to create, to be part of the generative process of life. There is within each of us a deep hunger for this type of learning.” (Peter M. Senge in The Fifth Discipline)
The world is not static. The rate of change is faster now than it has been some years back. The rate at which information is being generated is even faster. The pressure upon the leader in every sphere of human existence is getting higher by the day. The matters requiring the leader’s attention fill the plate even beyond the leader’s capability to handle. Amidst all such hullaballoo and commotion, the leader must never allow the pressures to then deny them of the opportunity to learn. Regardless of our leadership positions, learning remains central to progress. Continuous lifetime learning is the hallmark of leadership effectiveness.
With technology coming in hard to close the gap created by reduced physical interaction, the leader ought to learn fast. Having one’s fingers on the pulse of technology is a prerequisite and the new game changer in almost every business. The previous modes of communication and interacting with others has totally changed. Whether you are dealing with customers, employees, the electorate or the congregants, technology will play a central role in the dissemination of information as we progress into the future.
Any serious leader desiring to leap to the future with relevance ought to appreciate that what took us here cannot take us there. What propels us to the future is new learning of the demands and expectations of the post Covid19 era.
The journey of improvement is never ending. It is facilitated by continuous learning that enables ready response and alignment with the new demands in the environment. Successful organizations are those that empower individuals and teams across all levels to effectively articulate and work towards their vision, mission and goals. The culture of learning and quick adaptation are the foundation of improvement and growth. Each individual is accountable for their space as a leader and for the betterment of all. Tomorrow’s successful leaders are agile learners, open to the new and unfamiliar, and who are quick to find learning in all types of experiences. The words of Bill Gates reign supreme in this regard when he said; “Once you embrace unpleasant news not as negative but as evidence of a need for change, you aren’t defeated by it. You’re learning from it.”
ENVISION THE FUTURE
“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” (Jack Welch)
Beyond the dictates of the hour, the leader must cast his/her sight into the future. The reality of the present is a pale shadow of the greatness that lies yonder. Human development is full of men and women who defied the odds through seeing possibilities where everything else pointed to impossibility. You cannot leap to a place or position that you can’t see. See it first before you become it. In as much as the world sees nothing of the realities that lie in the future, real leaders distinguish themselves by seeing beyond the obvious.
The American hero of the September 11 attacks Rudy Giuliani said; “Leaders need to be optimists. Their vision is beyond the present.” It is only through having eyes that see beyond the dictates of the hour that the future is crafted. Vision and leadership are Siamese twins, one cannot exist without the other. In a time of great trial and tribulation, the eyes must be open to what can be rather than what has been. The realization that there is a future to be lived promotes focus and the eagerness to make that future a reality.
Leadership greatness comes down to being passionate about the vision. A leader who doesn’t believe in their vision and is not excited about them cannot expect others to be inspired or believe in the vision either. Even though a vision might appear to be far-fetched, it is the enthusiasm displayed by the leader that makes the whole vision come to life. The real great leader makes others feel part of the big picture. They communicate the vision with clarity and in a simple manner. The leader create in the minds of others the feeling and anticipation of something lofty where they can shine and make a difference.
“The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up” (John C. Maxwell). The way a leader responds to the circumstances around them determines whether he goes up, remains on the same level or sink into oblivion. An unshakeable positive attitude is key to all leadership progress. There is no way one can leap through the present challenges with a negative attitude. Your attitude as a leader determines your altitude. This goes beyond mere knowledge or talent but digs deep into the daily decisions that the leader makes for the good of the space they occupy.
Leadership is always contagious, from the positive end to the negative end. It is paramount for the leader to display high levels of enthusiasm that rubs on to others. High levels of energy attract and command the attention of others with similar energy levels. A positive attitude comes as a choice that is made daily. It is something that you deliberately grow and harness until you become a master at positive attitude. Lao Tzu was a great Chinese Philosopher and he said leadership was the ability to hide your panic from others. Being hopeful about the future separates the great leaders from the ordinary fly by night pretenders who expect an easy path. A positive attitude has it that even though it’s tough in the present, it will not always be challenging; better days are coming. The leader with a positive attitude always sees the light at the end of a dark tunnel, inspiring others in the process towards that brighter end.
The winning edge that propels beyond the limitations of the hour comes from the leader’s attitude at the beginning of a task. The most significant differentiator to an athlete who wins in a race and the one who miss the big prize is the attitude. Everything else being equal, resources and circumstances, the leader who emerges victorious is the one with a positive attitude. Obstacles and difficulties are a part of daily living, a life without challenges is not worth living and smooth seas do not make skilful sailors as been said but the rough terrain should not rob the leader of his optimism. With the reality of problems, a positive attitude allows you to tackle them with greater resolve, tenacity and anticipation of success.
Attitude, at the end of the day is a little thing that makes a big difference. Maya Angelou would say; “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Life is made through a concerted process of looking for the good in all circumstances. Leadership capacity is enhanced when the leader refuses to waste time concentrating on negative thinking and worry. This is because the way you see yourself, your self-esteem and the extent to which you believe in your capabilities make a huge difference in your confidence levels as a leader.
Every leader everywhere ought to have a positive attitude that admits on how challenging the situation is but is quick to point out how they will figure out. It is such an attitude that create giants where there is acknowledgement of how one might be down but emphasizes on the comeback.
PERFORM WITH PASSION
You cannot leap to the other end if you are seated. Action is the determinant of where you end up. The effectiveness of a leader is measured on performance and not intentions. It is not enough to know, action should prove to the world what you are made of. Passionate performance turns a rough patch in a leader’s life to a level where they fly high with the eagles. Even though the storms come in full force, the leader who applies the leap strategy will use their knowledge to face situations head-on like an eagle that forges into a storm. It is such level of passionate execution that carries the day. That passion has within it the seed of greatness and influence.
The leaders who will emerge victorious at the end of every challenge are those who choose to take in information, learn from it, craft a vision of the future with a positive attitude and then get into the trenches to do something. Effective leaders build bridges between knowledge and action and they act quickly to the ever changing environment. They know fully well that if they don’t adapt quick enough, they die. They understand that any delay in taking action can take the company, community, church, city or country to the doldrums. They generate a lot of trust in their constituency by their eagerness to take action. They continue to LEAP to the other end of the boundary line.
NOAH MANGWARARA is an international and award winning leadership coach and motivational speaker. He has spoken widely across the continent addressing leaders in companies, churches and communities