What kind of wood are you using?
2020 is here, and it is my and Michelle’s sincere desire for it to be the best of your life! Are you looking ahead to see which moves you will make on the checker board of life that will propel you into your future success? Were you aware that 20 is the maximum number of moves it takes to solve any combination of a Rubik’s Cube? I’m not saying it’s my number. I’m speaking statistically.
We get so tangled up in the situations of life that we spend very little time evaluating our own strategic opportunities. As the saying goes, it’s hard to think about draining the swamp when you’re up to your neck in alligators. But the alligators are always going to be there! So, let’s be systematic. It’s hard to fire people up when their wood is wet; so, I am going to give you three small stacks of three different kinds of leadership wood resources: fat wood (pine kindling made from the heart of a pine tree), charcoal briquettes, and seasoned oak logs.
We see people in relation to their gifts, but how do we see ourselves? I hear some of my clients tell me they are sprinters. They can get a lot done, but they flame out quickly—they are fat wood! In starting a fire, you must have an accelerant—an energy that gets so hot, it ignites everything it comes in contact with. That’s the job of fat wood! You don’t need paper, starter fluid, or a starter log; fat wood starts with a match and is excellent kindling to start any fire, but it has a quick expiration rate.
Next, you have consistent performers, team members who, day in and day out, need very little management stir. They are charcoal briquettes! Once charcoal has reached its burn temperature, it will deliver a constant and predictable temperature. One word of caution: charcoal needs charcoal! They draw heat from one another, and if a briquette is pulled away from the team, it will cool off quickly. Therefore, these performers need team support.
Lastly, you have seasoned oak logs. They are excellent sources of heat, have a slow burn rate, give off a pleasant sound, and emit a pleasant-smelling smoke. But like the charcoal, need heat to get going. But once lit, they are self-monitoring and slow-burning. Just so we don’t get too many moves ahead, let me wrap this analogy up!
Fat wood leaders are leaders that need very little starting energy and will get things done, yet they need short hot goals and constant replenishing and direction. Charcoal leaders deliver long and consistent value, but must be kept close to other similar leaders from which to draw inspiration, and you must check on them regularly to monitor progress. Finally, seasoned oak leaders, once ignited, can work with teams or alone, and they always let you know where they are with communication and traceability.
Fat Wood Tips:
Get a firm picture of what it looks like when you achieve your plan. It’s easy to get excited but staying the course is just as important.
Make your plan realistic. Small wins will help you through to the big win.
Talk to yourself. You are your best cheerleader. Just don’t do it out loud!
Charcoal Briquette Tips:
Listen to team members. Additional information helps you achieve a solution that gets team support.
Keep your word. Once you have a plan and you inform others, stay with the plan. Be predictable.
Focus on promoting others. A new leader’s first plan should be to work on his/her replacement. This practice helps you to move up!
Oak Log Tips:
Know your strengths. Make them stronger! Don’t work on weaknesses. Find team members who have strengths in those areas and lean on them.
Be a coach. Help those on your team to succeed. There’s no better way to strengthen your abilities than to improve the abilities of others.
Be transparent. Collaboration, communications, and respectful dialogue are the true steroid for building your leadership muscle.
Moving forward into this new year, understand your leadership wood needs: thoughtful minding.