A Good Weekend, a Circle of Wood and Leadership Excellence –
A Very Good Weekend –
During a recent July 4th weekend, my wife and I took an impromptu trip to Nashville, TN (well, at least what passes for impromptu for us – 4 weeks of planning, researching places of interest, etc., etc.!). For those who do not know, Nashville is the home of American country music (my wife’s favorite genre) but it is also attracting a lot of other “indie” and Americana artists these days as well.
We had a great time watching fireworks, eating very unhealthy foods, and listening to tons of live music played by aspiring young artists in the various clubs – all in all, a very good weekend!
Right down the block from our hotel was the historic Ryman Auditorium – the “mother church of country music”. We took a fascinating tour of this hallowed building that still attracts “A List” national touring artists to this day. I learned that for over 30 years, the Ryman housed the Grand Ole Opry which has featured country and other artists since the genre’s inception. Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Minnie Pearl, Bob Dylan, Charlie Daniels and many other music legends have all played there.
A Circle of Wood –
In the 1970’s, the Opry moved to a larger and more modern facility 20 minutes from downtown but so that the “circle would be unbroken”, the Opry owners cut a circular section from stage-left of the old Ryman auditorium (the side from which the artists always entered). Workers then placed it on the new stage right under the center-stage microphone where the headline act stands when performing (yes, learned that from another tour!).
When an artist walks on stage at the Opry and stand in that circle, they have entered a pivotal moment their career. All that came before has led them to that point where they now stand where music legends have before and will again. They are no longer average, they have STEPPED UP and now STAND IN Excellence.
Can you imagine the thoughts and feelings when a Carrie Underwood, Garth Brooks or Miranda Lambert first stood in that circle and played before what was probably the largest and most important audience of their career? What do you think got them there?
. . . and Leadership Excellence –
No one’s path to success is the same but I believe there are some common habits that are REQUIRED for Leadership (and musical) Excellence:
Recognition of Talent – everybody is good at something. As leaders, we must recognize our gifts that will serve others.
Sacrifice – in John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – The Law of Sacrifice states that to “go up, we have to give up!” Just like talented artists, effective leaders have to sacrifice time, personal agendas, self-interest, etc. in order to do the hard work of getting BETTER!
Working to Strengths – can you imagine Blake Shelton or Taylor Swift as rock artists? Actually, they probably would be great but you know what I mean! Leaders, like artists, have to determine their leadership “swim lane” and THRIVE there!
Obsessive Hard Work – I once read a quote that stated, “it took me 20 years to be an overnight success!” We rarely hear about the monumental efforts that took these artists to that wooden circle. I am sure if asked they would speak more about their struggles versus any quick wins. The same is true for leaders who truly want to be the best at what they do. Remember, GREAT things are rarely easy!
Adaptability – I was once in a small band in college with a fellow student whose father played with the house band of the Grand ‘Ol Opry. The tradition was that if you ever visited the stage, no longer how long the absence, you had to be ready to play if needed. The lesson is clear for leaders. you never know when you will be asked to STAND IN Excellence so it is critical that you make yourself as READY as possible.
Faith in Themselves – finally no one can achieve excellence let alone perform for thousands, unless they have a solid belief in their worth (even when others do not). John Maxwell often says, “you will never outperform your own self-image!” so why are you limiting yourself?
Questions for Consideration:
Review the list above, what habits have you mastered?
Which do you need to work on?
Based on such reflection, what do you need to do differently?
What wooden circle are you seeking?
Finally, are you Standing in Excellence or just waiting in the wings?
As always if I can help you and the people you associate with Get Better, Be Ready and LEAD OUT LOUD, I would invite you to email me or to visit my website below and see if any of the training or coaching experiences I offer can provide an impact! Also, as a bonus, if you go to my Out Loud Strategies website (www.outloudinc.com) and enter your contact information, I will send you a FREE guide to establishing a mentoring initiative program in your organization! Such an initiative would be critical to add value to your organization!
Yours in Leadership,
Principal Consultant – Out Loud Strategies
Independent Coach, Speaker, and Trainer with the John Maxwell Team TM
Email = firstname.lastname@example.org
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Yours in Leadership,