We weren’t supposed to win. And early on in the game it looked that way as we were down by 14 points. We were one of the best in our high school league, but our cross-town rivals were just a little bit better.
Right before halftime of our big rivalry football game, with 4th down and inches to go to the goal line on a rain-soaked, muddy field, we scored a touchdown.
It was risky. Our coaches wanted to just go for the field goal, but our quarterback and the entire offensive team wanted the touchdown (I played right guard) — we wanted to recapture the competitive advantage and turn the momentum around.
Any momentum we could get. Well, we got it and won the game 28-14.
I could wax poetic for hours about my high school football glory days, but of course I won’t. Thank goodness it is football season again, though.
My point is that you have to take chances to fail, fail, fail, then succeed. That takes stalwart personal and professional leadership, to be able to gain the trust of your team, to motivate them, to be empathic and emotionally intelligent and embed that same level-headed collaborative adaptability into each and every team member to have the foresight in taking strategic risks from the trenches.
Breathe, but then blink, and where are we now?
Right now the global economy is still an interwoven hot mess. In the U.S., about 46.2 million people were in poverty in 2010, the highest number since the government began tracking poverty in 1959. Profitable companies are sitting on billions in profits while the unemployed become more unemployable.
It’s also too easy to be an armchair manager and leader in any organization and blame politics, economics, financial institutions, weather, hang nails, etc., on why businesses are laying low, especially when they are the real managers and leaders in the same said organizations.
I can’t tell you how many countless surveys I’ve seen in the past three years that validate over and over again how many organizations (leaders across departments and roles including talent management and human resources — especially talent management and HR) agree that leadership development, succession planning, coaching and mentoring, employment engagement and retention, and training and development are of the highest priority.
But yet when it comes to making the business case for the bottom line, we’re not doing so well and everyone is still holding their collective business breath. I mean, the world of work hasn’t come to a complete standstill and there are companies engaged in proactive, collaborative leadership — but still.
Listen, I get it. Too many business leaders are still scared of the collaborative and competitive touchy-feely and so they sit paralyzed pushing their people to do a lot more with a lot less.
But leaders, you’ve got to connect the dots between effective collaborative leadership development and business growth. That’s what leads to long-term competitive advantage.
Join us for #TChat next week, September 21, at 4 pm PT, 7 pm ET, where we’ll talk about developing collaborative business leadership today.
It’s 4th and inches, folks. Let’s go for it.