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If you do not adapt, if you do not learn, you will wither, you will die.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Leadership. What for?

Strategic thinking and planning.
Business acumen.
Innovative thinking.
Adaptability and flexibility.
Long term vision and goal setting.
Coaching skills.
Collaborative decision making.
Problem solving skills.
Eagerness to learn and admit mistakes.
Accountability.
Team leadership.
Transparent communication … 

A pretty long list and it continues, I’m sure.

In the intriguing and overly crowded world of leadership, a lot of the attention goes to the definition of great leadership, whether it’s called servant leadership or any other buzz word. Probably even more focus is on what kind of beliefs, attitudes, insights, and skills are needed to be a great leader. Large numbers of books, workshops, turn-around events, and lectures have focused and will focus on leadership and what it takes to become that great leader.

With so much attention on the what and how of leadership, I believe the more profound question to be: Leadership, what for? Luckily, this question is gaining more and more attention, but often from a perspective of doing good for the community and of social responsibility by for profit companies. Of course, this is an important aspect of doing business, and my own Moors Coaching & Training – Charity is a small, humble example, providing high quality coaching, workshop, training, lecture, and leadership development services totally free of charge to non-profits working for great causes. Again, just one small example of social entrepreneurship for the benefit of the greater good, and I’ve had many people applaud me for this charity business, which of course, makes me feel good, no denying there. But, the main question for me is: why do we do what we do and for what? Whether it be my personal leadership in how to lead my life while influencing people around me, not in the least our children. Or whether it be the leadership of Jeff Immelt at General Electric, John Chambers of Cisco Systems, or Matthew Spitzer, president of Doctors without Borders (and don’t get the wrong idea, I don’t mean to imply I’m playing in their league) – the biggest question of all is not how do I lead, but what should it lead to, whereto am I leading? A more sustainable world? A peaceful world? An inspired workforce that is adding meaningful value to customers while enhancing their own skills and insights?

What gets me closer to the “whereto” of my leadership in life:

n  To stop thinking just about objectives, tasks, and outcomes and start focusing on my effect on others.

n  To add to my focus on immediate concerns, the consideration of the long-term implications of my decisions.

n  To be familiar with my inner life such as my motivations, my fears, my values, and my purpose.

Do you know your purpose for living – for being in this world?

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