When someone approach me telling “I show you how to do it”, I usually thrill.
If something I learnt ageing, is that nothing is more detrimental than follow a procedure. I can feel many jumping on the tables already. Don’t get me wrong. There are situations where procedures must be followed, but this applies only for a process, a routine.
Recently I have been asked what to do to have success (they assumed I have, first mistake), I revert the question back, define success! Money, I mean how to make money, what to do to make your organization successful (again you mean make money…second mistake).
What I do? I can tell you what I let my Team doing and what I do not. I prepare a business plan and ensuring my Team work hard to achieve it. Then I do something else. As hard it may sound, success is not in a business plan. The exact moment you set your goal, you prevent yourself from exceed them, or reach greater success. Let me elaborate, if you decide to find a job that gives you USD 50k a year, this is probably what you will get, but automatically precluded yourself from finding a USD 1m job. When I set up the P&L for the company, in that exact moment I have analyzed the market, the potential and the competition and I decided how much I can reasonably get. I set KPI’s, rules and procedure to ensure my team will achieve the targets of that plan. If they are very good and very committed, they will probably meet it. Will they double it? Will they make 100 times more? Unluckily to happen.
The rules I have set, automatically prevent them to reach a different scale of goals. So should we not have a plan? Is true the opposite, you must have a plan to ensure you can meet your budget and make the investors happy, but you also need to think free out of the box if you want to make the difference. I read so much about Managers and Leaders that for a moment I was falling in the same mistake again, restrain myself into the model. Convince myself I have to follow a model to be successful. Success is the capability to read the environment and adapt, I think.
Did you watch the Olympics? Any of you follow a pretty boring (forgive me for this) discipline called Javelin? For many years athletes trained, used many technologies to improve and what they achieved was a few centimeters, they are all there, the best in the world in a small circle. A bulls eye to beat, just one centimeter more. Then all of a sudden Julius Yego, a guy from Nairobi, Kenya arrived with no training, no team, not a real coach. He trained watching video on YouTube, he didn’t have a man telling him, this is how you throw a javelin… and this was it. He was not constrained into the process, the procedure, how the sport pretend you to throw a javelin. Yego threw 92.72 meters, hurling himself face-first onto the ground as the javelin left that fabulously flexible right hand, he catapulted into the top three best javelin throwers ever, the first man in 14 years to throw more than 92 meters. In the interview he has been asked how the falling face-first improves the distance, “The falling is not a technique,” he said. “Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t.” he just fell.
Meet a plan is not success for me, it is just delivering. Success is to walk where no one else see a path, think the unthinkable, pretend my mind has no limit and if I can think of it, I probably can make it.
For me there is not really so much difference between a top manager and a delivery boy, they both have to deliver in time what people is expecting them to deliver. Different scale, different wages obviously. Do I mean a Delivery boy can just sit on a Manager position? Com’on guys, examples are just examples.
Very different thing is Leadership, Leadership is asking your crew to navigate the undiscovered water questing for the unreachable. Can a Leader exist without a Manager? Probably not and I am not even sure they can coexist in the same person. A company need a Manager, maybe more than one, to ensure the day by day production is there. Just like the paint factory, where the worker meticulously follow the process and the procedure to deliver the best possible tubes of colors, but they are not the one making the painting, is not the CFO or the COO making arts that will be History in the days after. The CEO has to be an artist himself. He must be capable to see the grace into a marble squared stone.
There is still room today for these Leaders? Oh yeah, plenty of room and plenty of need, because the limits are only the one we sets, remove the limits and the opportunities for success will be endless. How? Stop being what people expect you to be, stop acting in a cliché, stop follow the rules that regulate the market because you have been told this is how it works.
Like yourself, love yourself, think yourself, but most important, respect yourself.
Success is you.