Monday, January 25, 2010

Every Leader's Challenge

One characteristic all effective leaders embrace is honest introspection.  Orrin Woodward recently wrote an article touching on this very subject and commented that honest self-analysis was "Every Leader's challenge."  Jim Collins in Good to Great called it "confronting the brutal reality." The lesson here is to not be fooled into the trap of Woodward's Law.  Read on...

By Orrin Woodward

I read recently of Sturgeon's Law that states that 90% of anything is crud. Theodore Sturgeon developed his law in arguing against critics who didn't like science fiction books. His answer defended the best of the science fiction genre. Like anything in life, cream rises to the top and only a few are willing to do what it takes to climb the mountain. As I thought on Sturgeon's Law, I realized that it tied in perfectly with Chris Brady and my Tri-Lateral Leadership Ledger (TLLL) from our #1 Wall Street Journal Best Seller, Launching a Leadership Revolution. The idea behind the TLLL is that leaders must develop their skills in Character, Task and Relationships in order to influence effectively. Sturgeon's Law ties in with the TLLL by revealing that only 10% of the people will excel with character, only 10% will excel in task and only 10% excel in relationships.
The TLLL scores you on a scale from 1 to 10 in each of the three areas and then multiplies the scores together for a total leadership score. 1000 being the highest theoretical score that you can achieve - 10x10x10 and zero being the lowest score possible. Sturgeon's Law reveals that only 10%x10%x10% will excel in all three areas necessary to effectively lead. This amounts to 1 out of 1000 that lead people with character, task and relationships. This number matches with what I have learned experimentally through building communities. You have a performer for every 100 to 150 people and you have a true leader for every 1000 people associating in your community. This is just another example of how rare true leadership is. When you find someone with Character, Task and Relationship, it is important to serve them and reward them. John Maxwell says, "Everything rises and falls on leadership" and I concur.
How are you doing in the three areas? The tendency is to overrate yourself when you think through the TLLL. If you are part of a networking community and have 1000 people attending your leadership events, then you are scoring around 350 points. A 100 people at leadership events is around 100 points. Every leader has room to grow because none of us have hit anywhere close to 1000 points. What are your numbers at your training events? The numbers do not lie even if we may desire to inflate our scores. This leads me to Woodward's Law which is a natural Corollary to Sturgeon's Law pertaining to leadership. Woodward's Law - 90% of the leaders are convinced they are part of the 10% in Sturgeon's Law. Ok, that may sound strong, but self-deception has costs more people success than any other single factor. Is anything good coming from self-deception in your life? Is ignorance truly bliss?
Why do people desire to live with comfortable lies when only the uncomfortable truths will set you free? Every leader should assess their strengths and weaknesses on the TLLL and then changes what needs to be changed. In leadership, you cannot take your old self into your new reality. If you are not happy with the results you are getting then stop blaming God, society, your parents, your team, your mentor, your situation, etc. and place the blame squarely on the one person who can do something about your character, your task, and your relationships. 2010 is the year to Play to Win! Are you Playing to Win? 
God Bless, Orrin Woodward

Orrin Woodward NY Times, Wall St. Journal, USA Today, Money & Business Weekly best selling co-author of Launching a Leadership Revolution & 2010 Top 25 Leadership Gurus List. Orrin's blog is an Alltop selection and ranked in HR's Top 100 Blogs for Management & Leadership.