It’s All About The Team
At 109 posts since February 2013, this endeavor has occupied a consistent amount of my free time for a while. It has also generated countless conversations about this thing we call leadership. One of the challenges I have experienced from contributing my thoughts in such a public manner is the net effect of creating a pretty obvious and public record about what I think is important, and what drives my thinking process. Once you put yourself out there, you become accountable for it. I have opportunities every day to practice what I am preaching.
I will admit giving little thought at the outset to the mechanics of blog posting. I generally try to have a plan, and “strategy” is something that I talk about often, but this particular endeavor was undertaken with very minimal goals. Making money, generating views and followers, and optimizing my search engine attractiveness were not only not part of the plan, I will admit that I hadn’t even considered them at all. The purpose was to continue a conversation that I started with my teammates in 2012 in such a way that it provoked thought, challenged perceptions, and contributed to the leadership education of a group of people central to my organization’s chances of success – namely, everyone. As of today, we have about 100 followers, which far exceeds the number of teammates I have. I have talked with many of you who are followers and I think the collective point of view is that the dynamic I have striven for is attractive to anyone who considers the effective practice of personal leadership to be something that they value or has meaning for them.
As we get closer to the two year mark next February, I have found myself thinking back on some of the conversations I have had with you, and the evolution of some of the content that appeared here. Since this isn’t a test, framing this post as a review would be incorrect. The only tests involved here are the ones you put yourselves through. However, as I recently considered a potential public speaking opportunity and the possibility of summarizing this blog in a fifteen minute presentation, I began “reviewing” prior posts. I also reviewed the initial statement about the purpose to which this site was dedicated. In summary, it was to “the pursuit of excellence in leadership, self-discipline, self-discovery, and achievement by and through the effort of high performing teams. It is dedicated to all those who are drawn to TR’s “arena”, and to those who came before.”
Twenty months and 109 posts later, this statement still represents what I am looking to do on these pages. In the 21st Century, it may be romantic to continue to believe in the power of people but I have read far too much history and invested way too much time in my personal heroes to contemplate a world in which a great leader, with a great team, has any limits on what they can accomplish. And that my friends, is what this blog is all about. You lead teams, you are a part of a team, and you have choices every day about how to get done whatever is put before your team. You can choose to make it about you, or you can make it about the mission. You can look at it in the short-term, or you can take a longer view. You can celebrate your own success, or you can draw your joy from the success of others. It should not be a surprise at this point which course I favor, as I (hopefully) have spent a lot of my time and your time talking about which way to go.
If there is one dynamic that I see consistently as a public servant with a mission to serve the public and not the bottom line of a personal business venture, it is that as human beings we struggle every day with being individuals as well as being part of a team. We have choices every day put in front of us that seem, on the surface, to be choices between sacrifice and personal gain. I fully understand that we belong to many teams, and that often we have to choose one team over another. The bonds of family, church, and country are thick and nothing within this blog is meant to diminish or weaken the pull of those teams. In fact, this blog is dedicated to you being a good teammate of every team of which you are a part, and understanding just what that might mean and what choices and situations you may face on the road to being the best that you can be.
Being a leader, and more importantly acting like a leader, will sometimes hurt. You will feel stings and it can, and will, suck from time to time. You will also have the potential to feel something that is hard to describe but impossible to forget. Humans are social animals. We operate and organize in groups as a matter of species behavior. When we achieve individually, we may hear cheers in the moment, but when we achieve together, that lasts forever. As a leader of a team, as a leader on a team, the shared effort is something that strengthens the humanity in all of us, and the bond that connects us all. And that my friends, is why we do it.