Two young people are given the same directive by their boss.
One of them, palms upward, says, “But I don’t know how.”
The second one doesn’t know how, either, but quietly thinks, “I’ll figure it out.”
The first one grows up to become a manager who believes training to be the key to success. “Go to college. Learn to do things correctly. Get a good job.” The employee who won’t ask for help frustrates the manager.
The second person grows up to be a leader who believes initiative to be the key to success. “Start a business. Innovate. Stay a step ahead of the pack.” The employee who won’t make an independent decision frustrates the leader.
Most of us tend to think of ourselves as both manager and leader, exhibiting the qualities of each at the appropriate time. But the worldview of a manager is antithetical to the worldview of a leader. You lean one way more than you lean the other. Which is your natural inclination?
Managers believe in bringing the best of the past forward. They talk about best practices and agree with Blackie Sherrod who said, “The reason history must repeat itself is because we pay too little attention the first time.” Managers believe in compliance, conformity and steady evolution. Franchises exist because the mind of a manager says, “Why reinvent the wheel?” Managers believe in “tweaking” things to reach “the next level.” They say, “One step at a time and with each step taken, move the finish line one step further away.”
Managers make money.
Leaders make memories and sometimes, history. They talk about sweeping change and a new day and agree with Albert Einstein who said, “It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant – aside from stimulation – stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to rack and ruin without fail. It is a very grave mistake to think that the engagement of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.” Leaders believe in vision, innovation and revolution. They say, “Set your sight on your goal and never give up.”
Possibilities are the currency of a leader.
Realities are the currency of a manager.
Leaders create things from nothing. And then managers slowly improve those things.
Which are you, leader or manager?
More importantly, which are you not?
It doesn’t really matter because both are equally valuable.
The keys to success are:
1. to know exactly when each perspective is needed and
2. to skillfully ask for help from your opposite when your own perspective isn’t paying off.
Has your own perspective been paying off?
Evolution and revolution are cyclical. In what part of the cycle is your business right now? Have you just completed a revolution? Is it now time to slowly evolve? Or have you been evolving too long already? Has the time come to reinvent your business for a new generation? RevoLUtion!
These are just a few thoughts to think as summer gives way to autumn and cotton sweater season blusters in from the North and Santa winks a twinkling eye at us from the distant, snowy horizon.
Or is that a star?
Roy H. Williams
Want to take your business to the next level? Oct. 5-7