No, I am not going to discuss the virtues of The Who’s famous song, nor the ramifications that rock and roll has had on our society. But I am going to share with you the importance of understanding who you are, your strengths and weaknesses and the high level correlation between your understanding of yourself and the affect you have on your business as a result.
I am always amazed by the level of expertise that executives have in regards to what I call the Strategic and Operational Model of Business. They communicate it and practice it with their employees, they eat, sleep and breathe it every day and yet I am amazed at the low level of understanding they have of themselves. Despite their desire to live the model, the level of functionality or dysfunction of their own behavior and its effect on accelerating or impeding their strategic objectives seems to go completely unnoticed to them. Please don’t miss understand me on this point, everyone I talk to understands their stuff. They have probably been shrunk ten different ways over the course of their career. They have charts on the wall showing and outlining, in fine detail, their own characteristics. Some have been to leadership camps that have dissected their behavior traits from 12 years onward. But interestingly enough, most have not made the leap from understanding these behaviors to then actually utilizing them in accelerating results.
Way too often executives play their behaviors like a wild card in a game of poker. In fact, the higher the level the executive, the more room they are given by their employees, their board and even the street for what we will kindly call their “unique” behavior. At times we even reward those who stand out in this manner. We use words like innovator or entrepreneurial or euphemisms like, ‘the executive leads by the beat of his/her own drum’. This translates to, “we love them as long as they drive results but once the results falter, then the behaviors are no longer tolerable”. Yes, this wild card behavior can drive results. Unfortunately, the amount of human and physical capital to mitigate the downside of this behavior is usually considerable and it offsets the upside it creates.
So the challenge here is to not only to understand these “unique” traits of yours, but to comprehend the effect they have as you drive results. As business continues to accelerate, neither you nor the business can afford the wild card style behavior. Think of it as a tool where you can leverage all that is in place to drive the desired success.
As a leader, you have a fiduciary, if not a moral responsibility to understand the ramifications of your interactions. So the question is:
Who are you??