I was recently cleaning closets and opened a box of paperwork, re-discovering one short story and several quotes that I found so inspiring as a young leader that I shared them with all of our front line employees, supervisors, and managers at our daily meetings.
Then I purchased beautiful paper, typed them up and copied them onto that paper, cut them out, boxed them up and sent them to some of our other locations to share with their teams.
When I re-discovered them, I felt like I ‘d just found buried treasure.
And then I thought of the stories we all hear, about people who climb the ladder of success and sometimes forget where they’ve come from.
So if you have a leadership title of any kind, take a closer look:
Several years ago I worked for an organization that invited several key customers to a meeting that would last several days.
The company invested a great deal of time and resources in the event, flying in the customers, planning the event, and entertaining them.
When the invitation was sent, the company said they wanted to better understand their customers’ needs and brainstorm ways to better meet them.
After the customers arrived, many were frustrated to discover that the company wasn’t really seeking to understand their needs at a higher level. Instead the company was just asking for a rubber stamp on an action plan that had already been created.
A few short months later I began working with someone that consistently emphasized that great leadership is strategy.
At first, I saw this person share a big vision, arm people with the tools and the support they needed and then get out of their way.
However, as time passed I began to realize that this person often worked relationships to avoid dealing with their own weaknesses and to drive a personal agenda.
And I started to wonder…
Have you ever had someone make assumptions about you?
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I despise boxes…. And typecasting…. And limits… And then I realized I was holding some assumptions that were putting others in boxes. Ugh!
…A couple of years ago, I volunteered to help out at a Career Fair. Early in the day, several vans arrived from Goodwill’s Training Program.
As the room filled with people several things blew my boxes of assumptions apart: