I've helped many business owners and CEOs over the course of my colorful career. The good ones invariably ask the same question early on. It's usually goes something like this:
"Tell me something I don't know ... something I should've already learned at this stage in the game."
Once I hear this question, I know the seemingly impossible, the perceived intractable, is something that may well be achievable. I'll explain why.
Ask anyone who has spent a good deal of time with people who have built successful companies. The best business leaders share one or more of the following attributes:
- As intelligent or passionate as they may be, they remain coachable.
- They surround themselves with people smarter and stronger than themselves.
- Down deep, they maintain a permanent need to be constantly learning.
The most disturbing scenario is when a person in leadership believes they have all the facts and isn't open to seeking or accepting advice from informed, intelligent people. Worse, they are surrounded by managers too afraid to speak their mind.
Business, just as life itself, is always changing and ever evolving. So it makes sense that the healthiest organizations are led by people that are eternally curious and open to new accurate, relevant and timely information.
If you're reading this, here's my challenge for you:
Seek out people that look, act, talk, and think different than you.
Read EVERYTHING ... not just the books, articles and links like-minded peers send you.
Ask the people who work closest to you what three things they'd do differently if they had to take over your job today.
Tragically, genuine humility isn't something that's being taught or on display these days in business. My guess is, if you're not perceived to be a humble leader, you wouldn't know it. Most people are too afraid to lose their job or be demoted for simply telling the truth.
As I've shared before, always lead with your ears. Truly, you don't know what your missing.