To illustrate our next Leadership Principle, let’s return to an anecdote from a previous blog post. You are assigned a team at work to design a presentation for a new product. Jerry is put in charge of graphics, but doesn’t deliver on his duty. Who is ultimately accountable? Not you, just Jerry? No, the presentation was your responsibility, as well as Jerry’s, and the fact that it’s incomplete means you all failed. In business, you have to own every part of your company, every decision you make, every product you turn out. For better or for worse.
I feel as though it is necessary at this point in my Leadership Principles posts to take a brief pause and explore what is known as the “Choice Distinction.” The Choice Distinction is absolutely critical. Though technically not a Leadership Principle, it sets the Principles into motion.
What it is Everything in your life, with the exception of when your life ends, is a choice. Getting up in the morning, going to work and being productive is a personal choice.
A person who does not hold him/herself responsible for what he/she does is not a strong business leader. Seems fairly obvious, does it not? This person may blame other people for his/her non-successes, and fails at accomplishing his/her goals. This brings me to our next Leadership Principle: Accountability. Accountability means exactly what it sounds like—you hold yourself responsible (accountable) for results. Can you imagine any business being successful if its leaders didn’t take responsibility for their thoughts to materialize? If you have a business idea or are starting an initiative, there would be no real motivation to get anything done if you didn’t make yourself personally responsible to make things happen.
In essence, the reason to do business and to identify and achieve goals is to ultimately contribute. Contribute to society, to others and to the world around you. Because of something you did, the world will be different, and hopefully, better. Though Contribution, our next Leadership Principle, can be on a small or a large scale, in order to illustrate this Principle, let’s examine the lives of two people we have already referenced whose successes have allowed them to contribute on a grand scale.
It’s a new year. 2015. Did you make New Years’ Resolutions? Have you in the past? Have you accomplished them? Maybe you failed to accomplish others. What made the difference in accomplishing versus not? BELIEVING. Believing in your ambitions, and believing in yourself to make them come true.
Nothing great has ever been done without someone first believing it could happen, hence, Possibility Thinking is our first Leadership Principle. Someone has to both have an idea, and also believe in its actualization. This Principle is absolutely crucial, as it sets the rest of the Principles into motion and calls people to action to achieve.