My long-time friend and mentor, Jim Lundy, and I would often talk about that managing a business was more like triangulation rather than a straight line.
Even with our best efforts to operate in a straight line to our destination – our vision (where are we going?), we tended to “zig and zag” back and forth as we kept moving forward.
It was my responsibility to first step up to lead our people (enhance relationships) before I managed (drive for results) the things of our business.
Best-selling author, Stephen Covey, said in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:
Leadership – What are the things I want to accomplish?
- Effectiveness – Determines that the ladder is leaning against the right wall.
Management – How can I best accomplish certain things?
- Efficiency – Busy climbing the ladder of success.
“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
– Peter Drucker
It’s a jungle out there
Stephen Covey also commented that managers (the producers, the problem solvers) are the ones cutting their way through the jungle with machetes in the undergrowth and clearing it out.
He said the managers are the ones sharpening their machetes, writing policy and procedure manuals, holding muscle development programs, bringing in improved technologies, and setting up working schedules and compensation programs for the machete wielders.
The leader is the one who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation, and yells, “Wrong jungle!”
But how do the busy, efficient producers and managers often respond? “Shut up! We’re making progress.”
As individuals, groups, and businesses, we’re often so busy cutting through the undergrowth we don’t even realize we’re in the wrong jungle.
With the rapidly changing environment in which we live, it makes effective leadership more critical than ever before.
“No management success can compensate for failure in leadership.”
– Stephen Covey
We are more in need of a vision – a destination – and a compass (a set of principles – your values and purpose). We often don’t know what the terrain ahead will be like or what we will need to go through it; much will depend on our judgment at the time.
Effective Leadership – and even our survival – does not depend solely on how much effort we expend, but on whether or not the effort we expend is in the right jungle.
Proactive leadership must constantly monitor environmental change, particularly customer buying habits and motives, and provide the force necessary to organize resources in the right direction.
Leadership needs to keep headed in the right direction. Why? Because there is no amount of management expertise that can keep the team from failing.
Parents are also trapped in the management paradigm, thinking of control, efficiency, and rules instead of direction, purpose, and family feelings.
Leadership is even more lacking in our personal lives. We tend to manage with efficiency by setting and achieving goals before we have even clarified our values (Who am I?) and our purpose (Why do I exist?).
Every person can minimize triangulation in life and in business by doing two things, and doing them in order!
You are responsible to lead yourself personally first with a vision, and as the leader of your business, to lead your people first with a vision – a destination, a direction, a dream – as to where you are going.
“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality”
You are responsible to pause, reflect, think, and evaluate/manage your progress toward your vision for yourself personally and for your business.
“Plan your work and work your plan.”
I have observed that when we jump first to solve a problem before we have a vision – a direction, we immediately place a ceiling on our personal and business growth.
Do you find yourself triangulating here and then there, back and forth, and making little headway? If so, could I suggest that your take the two simple (but not easy) steps above? Lead first, manage second, and watch what happens!
We Texans know how to 2-step on the dance floor, but I’ve discovered a “Business 2-Step” that will help you “cut a rug” in life and business!
In your life and business, do you lead first, before you start managing it? Please share your comments <here> and share with your family, friends, and co-workers.