Sunday, October 13, 2013

Leadership Lessons from a Parked Car

Today, I am sitting in my wife's nice car. It has all the bells and whistles. It is sleek and comfortable just like the commercial promised it would be. But here's the deal. No matter how elegant my car is, it alone can't get me from point A to B. 

Here is my Point
The latest and greatest tools don't achieve results. The newest resource will not improve your current reality. The latest gadget can give you a greater sense of confidence or status, but it won't get the job done. At the end of the day, there is only one way that tools make substantial change. You have to take your tool out of park and put it into drive

So how can we put our tools in gear?

Dedicate Time 
If you want a tool to help your organization, you have to engage others in meaningful study about the tool and understand how it must be used to improve results.

Realize that People Matter
It's people not products that get results. If you have weak people and strong tools, you will always get weak results. In the end your people matter.

Inspect for Fidelity
Tools that are not implemented appropriately will not work.  If you want your tools to work properly, you might want to read the directions on the box and ensure that they are followed.  

Value Effort
In order for a tool to work, it needs someone to use it correctly. If you've spent all this money on a new tool, you might want to invest your time in sincerely recognizing the efforts of the very people who devote their time in becoming proficient operators of the tool. 

Embrace Failure
Anytime you implement a new resource, people will make mistakes trying it out. Leaders must create a culture that embraces mistakes during the implementation of a new resource.  Failure is a natural part of experimentation and creativity.  Leaders who fail to embrace failure will ensure the tool's failure all together. 

My car is great, and I like it. At the end of the day it is a completely useless tool until I crank it up and put the transmission in drive. Resources and tools are no different. Absent of a proficient and productive driver, a resource is just another car sitting in the parking lot. It may look attractive, but it is completely unproductive.  Resources that work have competent people that jump into the driver's seat and steer the tool down the road of hard work. 

Drivers Make the Difference 
 There are whole lot of organizations with a whole lot less resources but still get better results.  The difference isn't the number of cars in the garage, but the number of committed people in the house. 
How well do you drive the resources in your organization? 

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