Prove it! Growing Leaders One Proof at a Time

They think it can’t be done. You do. Now you’ve got to prove it. Game on. Nothing’s more inspirational than having something to prove.

My team has spent the last 2 years proving “the impossible.” The more folks told us “it” wouldn’t work, the more fired up we got.

We wanted to prove that culture drives results– and culture can be built. It’s not only about extrinsic rewards. Engagement counts. So do trusted relationships. Partner. Inspire. Give both ways. Through an extensive collaboration across multiple companies, we’re creating complex proof that culture matters. Proving it is fun, inspiring, and leaves us salivating for more.

The hungry for more part is important, because proving yourself is never handled. Bill Treasurer told me, “even at your funeral, it’s likely you still will be proving something.” Leaders need to get used to that inspiring feeling. Prove yourself early and often then do it again.

5 Ways to “Prove It”

Tap into your team’s innate desire to “prove” something. They will grow. Magic will happen. Results will breakthrough. You’ll have some fun. Here’s how.

  1. Offer challenging assignments
    Offer projects that stretch your team beyond their comfort zone. Find impossible missions. Pick work that’s closely aligned with their innate passion or career goals.
  2. Create concrete goals
    The goal must be clear. What exactly are you looking to prove? How will you know when you have achieved it?
  3. Find some naysayers
    Create a rallying cry to “prove it” to those guys goes a long way
  4. Scaffold their growth
    Be the guy that believes in the mission, leave the nay saying to the others. It doesn’t feel good to have to prove something to your boss. Support them as they prove it to others.
  5. Repeat the cycle
    Celebrate the proofs, and then be ready with the next challenge. Keep them growing.

Powerful Perspective: Opportunities and the Arch of Time

You hear devastating news. Job loss. A diagnosis. A new baby with life-changing special needs. Your brain and heart rush through thoughts, prayers, next steps. It’s hard to gain perspective. This was not in the plan.

What now?

Perspective and the Arch of Time

I met with Bill Treasurer to talk about his new book, Leaders Open Doors. I was intrigued as to why he would be giving all the proceeds of his book to help children with special needs. His perspective is powerful. A daughter born deaf with cerebral palsy on top of life’s other complications.

“At first it was hard to adjust my expectations for what life with my daughter would be like. Now I realize that there are flowers in every situation.”

Bill believes in the perspective of the “arch of time.” The arch of time allows the good to unfold.

Over time, he’s experienced…

  • What courage looks like
  • Patience
  • Gratitude
  • New relationships
  • The desire to help
  • Opportunities

When the news is bad. It’s hard to envision anything good. How do you gain the strength to allow the arch to emerge?

Bill suggests envisioning 10 reasons you are grateful for the situation. If that’s too hard, imagine 10 positive outcomes that could come from it. And then be patient. Enjoy the mystery as each day unfolds. Celebrate the unexpected flowers.

Perspective and the Leadership Journey

How does such perspective apply to leadership? Don’t focus on the difficulty– focus on the opportunity. Don’t judge a situation too soon. Look for possible.

Bill and I share a common disdain for the phrase, “what keeps you up at night.” First, it’s over used. Second, it elicits the wrong conversation.

“It’s as if some leaders believe that the only way they’ll get any rest is as if the entire workforce shares their fears. Unless people are as afraid as they are, they think that no one will be motivated enough to address whatever is causing the leader to lose sleep.”

Keeping perspective is a powerful leadership competency. Inspire and motivate by providing opportunity, even in the darkest situations. Opportunity is motivating. Scaffold your team as they climb the arch of possibilities. The results may surprise you.

How do you keep perspective?