LEADERSHIP LAW #3
Reflections on John C. Maxwell’s “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”
Think of a perfectly crafted timelapse video of a sunrise. The camera has to stay perfectly still and allow the natural process of the earth’s rotation to capture this moment. If the camera shakes, tips over, or loses focus, the timelapse will lose value. One cannot be impatient with this process, for it is the only way to achieve the goal.
Leadership is about the process. You cannot enter an organization with the ambition of metaphorically capturing a sunrise timelapse by speeding through the process. Many leaders want to see a change immediately without building the relationships first needed to succeed. You cannot skip over the area of relationship building and expect people to follow you just because you have a vision. You have to get to know how the parts work first. With a timelapse, you must know the type of lens you are working with, the location you plan to shoot, the best way to stabilize the camera, and environmental factors that could affect the movement of the camera.
In leadership, the same resources are in play. Leadership is about the constant development of skills. You never stop learning. Commitment to small incremental changes every day builds up to organizational changes.
I saw the Law of Process first hand when I was assigned to take over our hotel’s quality assurance program. The company was below the acceptable score and in desperate need of a new process for improvement. Upon analyzing our scores, I realized that we were missing elementary standards, such as using the guest’s name during interactions. Knowing that we could not fix this in one sitting, I developed a quality assurance process that would incrementally change the way we were serving our guests.
We re-trained staff on every expected standard of luxury and how to achieve each one of them in specific departments. Then we built an online tracking system so all managers could perform observational audits for their staff, providing them with a score based on their performance. With this collective objective data, we strengthened our weakest areas. We repeated this process until every employee lived the standards of luxury. Over two years of consistent auditing and small positive changes in service behaviors, we achieved the highest score in our hotel’s history.
Leadership is all about personal growth. If we think of our leadership abilities in terms of neuroplasticity, then we can fix poor leadership traits, gain new areas of development, and provide real results over time.