Weekly Thought – February 23, 2016
Fred “took a dim view” (as he would say) of those who saw themselves as exceptions to the rule. Or, those who treated exceptions as the norm.
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Yes or No
As leaders, our decisions determine the character of our organizations. We cannot make exceptions for ourselves. The leader is responsible for keeping options in line with right character.
Character decisions must be disciplined decisions. However, I see several undisciplined patterns, responses, and rationales. Here are a few:
1) Trying to maintain control – Some organizations create structures for personal control, not for leadership development. Generally, the control-driven leader is self-serving. Dictators do not develop great succession plans. The extreme controller damages the organization by sabotaging others who are viewed as competition or threats. Instability is often the negative result.
2) Trying to outdo the competition – Healthy competition is part of the infrastructure of commerce, but conniving, fraudulent practices to undercut other companies or products makes for bad decisions. Keeping two sets of books, hiding safety reports, undercutting prices, or corporate espionage are examples of character degeneration. Unhealthy leaders give birth to unhealthy environments.
3) Refusing to admit mistakes – Leaders must name and claim mistakes as soon as possible. They must minimize the loss, and start remedial actions immediately. They now call it damage control, but when I grew up it was called taking responsibility for my actions. In the 1960s the sitcom Happy Days featured the Fonz. He was incapable of saying, “I was wrong.” That style never works for real leaders.
4) Hiring or firing people based on politics – A leader’s first question should be: “Will this appointment help the organization to fulfill its mission?” not “Will this person vote my way or forward my personal goals?” I was once asked to sit on a friend’s board. I asked, “Will I have the freedom to disagree with your decisions?” “Fred, I think this probably isn’t a good idea.” He wanted a “yes man,” but that wasn’t the best for the organization.
This week think about: 1) Do I ever take a shortcut and make a self-focused decision? 2) How easy is it for me to admit I am wrong? 3) What can I do to encourage disciplined decisions in my home or organization?
Words of Wisdom: “Unhealthy leaders give birth to unhealthy environments.”
Wisdom from the Word: “An honorable man makes honorable plans; his honorable character gives him security.” (Isaiah 32:8 NET Bible)