Peer Power Blog
This blog is about the power of peers in the IT space. It is designed as a place to share things I have learned the past 24+ years running a business as well as meeting the growing demands of business owners we experience leading the Heartland Tech Groups - a peer group network for IT business owners.
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The Thing That Matters
Yesterday in Dallas at HTG Summit 2012, we hosted our second installment in the HTG Leadership Track. This is designed to provide an opportunity for members who want to grow in their leadership development to make an investment in themselves and gather once a quarter to learn the skills required to lead well. Leadership is a skill. It can be learned. But it is hard work and requires one to be intentional and committed.
We had over 100 members in the room to hear from a half dozen experts on the subject. Each of our speakers gave fantastic presentations. They selected the content they would present independently and without scripting by HTG. And to say there was a common thread between each and every presentation would not do it justice. From the very start, to the last sentence, the focus was the same.
Leadership development, and being a strong leader is about one thing - PEOPLE. That is the word we heard over and over throughout the day. It is all about the people. And if we are going to lead well, we first have to realize that leadership begins with leading ourself. Hmmm, that isn't what most wanted to hear. But it is exactly the truth. If we don't lead ourselves well, there is little chance we will do so with others. What does that mean?
It means being disciplined in how we use our time. It means being focused on our mission, vision and values. It means setting and following our priorities. It means we put first things first in how we live and lead rather than responding to the urgent and chaotic. It means that people come before tasks.
There is a huge difference between leadership and management. Those two are often confused. They are not interchangeable words or actions. Often when we run companies, we put people in management positions and give them KPI's and metrics based on task management. But we never spend time with them to develop vision or mission around their role - we never answer the question as to why what they do matters. And thus the frustration begins.
Dr. Larry Little put it this way: "Leading yourself is simply a choice". He gave us five key areas we need to be sure we are leading ourselves, and our company well:
These are core to the creation of culture, which is one of the most important responsibilities that a company owner/founder has to take care of. If the owner doesn't guard culture - no one will. It came up over and over yesterday - culture is key to leading well.
We need to surround ourselves with winners - to identify, recruit, hire, onboard, train, manage, compensate, encourage, support and retire people well. That is job one for a leader. To find those who they can train to take their place. People who are equally as good, or even better than they are.
Over and over we heard examples and stories of what happens when leaders compromise in this area of people. It NEVER ends well. Are you developing yourself as a leader of leaders? Do you have a personal leadership growth plan? It is time to get serious about leading. And that starts with the person in the mirror. Today is the day to begin!
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