Leadership. It’s Always the Answer

Kathy Rapp Career Paths, Change, Change Management, Coaching, Communication, Culture, Current Affairs, HR, HR & Sports, in the news, Influence, Kathy Rapp, Leadership, Performance, Sports, Talent Strategy

How many of you are in the throes of strategy planning and budgeting for 2017?  It’s also talent review, total rewards and expense management season.  Oh, and for those in the dark ages, it’s “I’m about to lose 80 hours of vacation time unless I take off the last 2 weeks of the year” time.  Eeek.

Yes.  December is upon us.

It’s also the time we call upon  leaders to step up.  After all, it’s our people and process leaders who are responsible for the laundry list of “to dos” above.

Leadership has certainly been in the news in 2016.  And leadership will be front and center in 2017.  But is that really unexpected?  Nah.  Leadership is always a hot topic and should be, because (the right) leadership is always the answer.

Here’s why.

Leadership is about changing mindsets

Last week, Tom Herman was named the new head football coach of the University of Texas (“t.u.” for my maroon and white friends).  Tom came from the University of Houston where he was 22-4.  He was highly recruited by multiple universities and came with a high price-tag.

How is that possible for a 41-year old first time head coach with just 2 seasons under his belt?  Is he equipped to handle the pressure of a top job at a place like UT?

When asked about the pressure of winning at UT, he responded:

“I think pressure is that uneasy feeling that you feel when you’re unprepared,” Herman said.  “Pressure is self-inflicted.  Pressure is self-doubt when you’re unprepared.  We’re prepared for this job.  We’re prepared for success at this job.  We’re prepared for adversity in this job.  So I don’t feel any sense of pressure at all.”

For Tom, his leadership will involve changing mindsets.  He’s not too young/inexperienced.  He’s not going to bow to the pressure.  No need to worry about his ability to recruit and retain top talent.

He will change mindsets (and started with the media) when he noted his internal goals for the team will be much more intense than any external goals placed upon them.

Leadership is succeeding in spite of circumstances

Economic downturns.  Unexpected election results.  Oil and gas laying off thousands.  Social unrest.  Margin constraints.  Stretch goals.

These are all real issues facing leaders.  And there will be more we don’t know about.  So what does a true leader do to navigate these challenges, often outside her/his control?

Study reality-based leadership, a concept Cy Wakeman has been promoting for years.

“A reality-based leader quickly and radically accepts the reality of any situation so they can take action and make decisions that conserve precious team energy and then focus that energy instead on delivering results.”

In other words, take accountability and create a plan to capitalize on your/your team’s strengths and knowledge.  And deliver!

Accountability and delivery are key to the leadership equation.

Do you want more?  Heck yeah!  Then deliver more.

So as you go back to your reviewing, plotting and planning for 2017, remember:

  • Leaders are not afraid to change and challenge mindsets
  • Leaders will be successful regardless of circumstances

And not to worry my Aggie friends, I still believe Texas A&M got the best leader out of the University of Houston.  Cheers to 2017!