There are hundreds of great leadership books, blogs, and websites about leadership. People get promoted into leadership roles for a variety of reasons, some of those reasons will help them soar to the sky with success. Many people struggle with the new tasks associated with the roles of management. I recall as a line-level employee watching my manager play solitaire and minesweeper, for the majority of her day. I thought that someday, I want that job because I will really be able to make a difference. My chance arrived and as I sought out extra tasks and projects, there were areas that sometimes seemed to be a struggle. Along the way on my leadership journey, there were several books I read. Two of them combined have pushed me to grow continually throughout my career.
In his book, Good to Great by Jim Collins, he writes about how the concept of good causes people to become complacent because the widely accepted standard is good. Good is comfortable, good is achievable, good is a 3.0 in school. The acceptance of good keeps people from stepping out and achieving GREAT. To achieve great status, one must be willing to look past the comfort of good, of the way we’ve always done things, of the scariness of other than good, and take those extra steps to greatness. This concept clung to me throughout my career.
Along with this concept was one of the Seven Steps to Highly Effective People by Steven Covey. Mr. Covey’s touch-it-once-step applies to everything we do, work and home. I think of how much more effective leaders would be if this were applied to everything they do. Touch-it-once can be as simple as opening invoices for payment. Open it, throw away the unwanted extras, apply the appropriate numbers for payment, set it aside for the next processing step. Just having a trash can next to you as you go through the process saves time from scooping everything up and throwing it away. Or having a filing system that makes it easy to file the document as soon as it’s ready instead of waiting until you have a stack full. When stacks of papers start piling up around our busy desks, looking for the document we need reduces our effectiveness according to this theory. The flip side to this argument is that a leader might say, “I know exactly where everything is”. This may be true, but with piles of papers all over the desktop, the efficiency level will drop, I’ve tested it both ways and Mr. Covey’s way is more effective, so just be prepared because changing habits can be a challenge.
Taking that step out of the comfort level is good and is one step closer to great.
Where do you want to go with your career?