It’s been 13 ½ years since I launched Upside Thinking, Inc. in my home office.
As a company, we work with brilliant mission-driven leaders and have won several awards. It’s been an amazing journey and along the way I have learned many lessons from my own experience as well as from other leaders worth following.
In reflecting on that journey, here are my top 5 leadership lessons:
There is no manual to business and life.
Every day, I get to create where I’m headed and decide what actions I’m going to take to get me there.
I’m continually reinventing myself and how the company operates.
Past iterations become obsolete– as being a leader requires creativity and innovation to succeed.
The ability to change and expand my growth edges – to be flexible – has served me well and contributed to how I attract brilliant leaders.
Your People – and Their Ability to Connect – Matter More Than Anything.
Great leaders understand great companies are built because of the people who run the organization – and how they treat the clients they serve.
When I recruit new talent and on-board someone new, I am more interested in who they are than what they can do.
I can give them new skills, however, I cannot teach them how to care and connect with everyone they meet.
Comfort Doesn’t Change the World. Vulnerability Changes Everything.
In an earlier Upside Thought, I wrote about some of the challenges I experienced at the beginning of 2018.
Being over-budget for my annual event, bringing in lower-than-forecasted revenues, having a new client cancel, and working with people who didn’t fully honor their contracts had me questioning myself and my business.
Then I remembered how some of my biggest opportunities have come from some of the worst experiences over the years.
And in this case, as in years past, the awareness gleaned from the challenges, especially after vulnerably sharing them with my colleagues in full transparency, allowed me to examine what I could do differently and how to prevent something similar from happening in the future.
It gave me the chance to implement new processes – and learn from the wisdom of colleagues who have walked a similar path.
The best leaders understand they don’t have to have all of the answers.
Months later, I’ve had the pleasure to welcome in new clients and step into new opportunities that wouldn’t have been possible without my vulnerability coupled with the generosity of my colleagues – and this has kept my company (and me) physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially healthy.
Giving Of Yourself Always Creates Opportunities to Receive.
Giving back in tangible and intangible ways always reaps great rewards.
Over the years, I’ve been involved in Business Alliance at the California State University – San Bernardino, The International Alliance for Women, the Inland Empire Women’s Business Center, local Chambers of Commerce, and countless other organizations.
I currently serve on the Executive Advisory Council for Leadership California and on the Executive Board for Project Forgive.
Giving back gives me perspective on why I do what I do – why I’m in business. And because everything I do is tied into the mission and values of my company, giving back includes how I serve my clients.
I often bonus in special opportunities, events, and coaching calls so that I regularly over-deliver what is promised. I’ve discovered giving is always returned to me at least 10-fold.
Have Fun to Get It Done.
While I’m committed to mercy, justice, and protection, my personal values are freedom, fun and flexibility so I get to spend time with my family, friends, and to grow in my faith.
Yes, fun is a core value.
And, I always say that if it isn’t fun, I don’t want to do it.
My early business advisors told me this was ridiculous – so I fired them.
What’s the point of leading others if you’re not having fun?
My time and energy are my most precious commodities.
Everything I do means I’m trading in a piece of my life to do it.
If it isn’t purposeful or meaningful, why would I do it?
And, if I don’t find it incredibly fun, I find someone who does and work with them on the project or outsource it for them to handle.
The best leaders – those worth following – understand this.
The Upside Challenge of the week is to pause and reflect on your journey. What are some of the leadership lessons you’ve learned? Share one on a blog, ezine, video post or just with a friend.
People follow the person first, then their great plan.
Be a leader worth following.