Exceptional Business Leaders Know How to Find and Read the Signs Do You
"Signs, Signs, Everywhere there’s signs," these lyrics recorded by Telsa reminded me what separates exceptional leaders from the average leaders – the ability to read signs.
The awareness of signs allows these leaders to think both creatively and strategically.
First, what makes an exceptional leader? In the book "Fail-Safe Leadership", the authors Linda Martin and Dr. David Mutchler boil leadership down to the ability to get results within clearly articulated core values. The how of getting results or what some may call performance continues to vex many businesses and individuals.
Examples in history are endless. George Washington read the signs of the future of the America's and surveyed potential land as to what would be desirable for the incoming colonists. From his creative ability to read the signs, he was able to strategically purchase land that he later sold for a profit.
In today's business world, such leaders as Jack Welsh, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mary Kaye all demonstrated the ability to read the signs before others even saw the signs. Successful entrepreneurs such as industrialist Andrew Carnegie to Fed Ex Founder Fred Smith read the signs and made millions of dollars when others believed their endeavors would fail. A local business owner in Northwest Indiana by the name of Dean White followed Washington's footsteps when he saw hundreds of farm acres supporting businesses in the forthcoming decades. Mr. White is now a billionaire because he read the signs before the intersection of U.S. 30 and I-65 was established.
Reading signs is not magical, but a developed skill. The first step is to increase your individual awareness to your environment. Taking a course such as Neuro-Linguistic programming or spending 10 minutes a day in reflection will improve your natural awareness. Also, focus on the positive and the possibilities instead of the negative. Learn to embrace joy first instead of misery.
Next, follow the words of Marcel Prost who wrote that the "true voyage of discovery is not seeking new landscapes, but seeing with new eyes." Look at everyday happenings from a new perspective or using different lenses or filters. Continually ask yourself if your reaction is one of conditioning.
The signs are all around and many tell you what to do and what you can't do. Your challenge as a leader is three fold: Find the Signs, Read the Signs and Possibly Rewrite the Signs.