It’s 5:00am and for me this is the best time to write, think, pray, and reflect on the day before me. What also happens regularly at this hour, is how many times I am reminded of old stories that just come to mind and most, long forgotten. As I read Chet’s blog this morning, Day 299 Compliant to Committed, I was once again reminded of a story that caused me to reflect deeply about Chet’s message today and thought I would share it.
I had a client early on who I had worked hard to land. They were at the end of a branding project and the company had designed laminated wallet size cards each associate was required to carry as a testament to their commitment, to the values and purpose statement printed on the cards. They had beautiful wall mounts made with their values stated on them and these were expensive wall mounts hanging around the company.
This was a company with a rich history, several generations of family members in the leader seat and now a son assuming control of the company, not LEADING the company, Controlling it! It became very clear to me that the son, the leader, nor any of his team, and clearly none of his associates, were deeply nor intimately involved in this whole value/purpose selection process. The Son wanted a fresh new look, something slick, and he got exactly what he wanted, wall mounts, laminated cards and one big bullshit story. He gave a branding company the responsibility of the very thing he had been entrusted with, Honoring the Past, a family history with rich cultural anchors, values he clearly had not recognized and a team that was not deeply involved in the process. Just think again about Chet’s words in today’s blog……
“Care deeply for your cause. Care deeply for those carrying it out alongside you. Get curious when you notice some not owning their twenty square feet. Committed followers cannot be bought. They must be built. Ask them what’s going on, sit quietly, and hear them. Ask them to tell you more. Ask them. Stop telling them so much of your good shit that they hear as simply more bullshit. Ask them.”
One of my questions in our first session was, “what was wrong with the values that the 4 generations before you, embraced?” All I could get was, I needed a fresh new start and my friend, the branding company, did a great job! I had a client who wanted, Fresh and New, and yours truly was not delivering Fresh and New. He fired me, and a year later he stepped down.
There were so many things wrong in this whole situation you could easily do a Harvard Business case on it! However, this is not uncommon in family businesses, fathers and mothers can’t be the Truth Tellers they need to be and so they hire a coach or give this responsibility to someone else. The son was anything but ready for a leader role!
I’m in AWE of the privilege I have in doing this work! Building into men and women who have the privilege of leading others! If you want committed followers, you better look hard at yourself and reflect on the question Chet is asking today…. Are you worth catching?