The difference between successful and unsuccessful leaders is often how they think.  The following are 4 Things Leaders Should Be Thinking But Many Aren’t:

  1. Think Production Rather Than Process – Nick Saban would totally disagree with me on this but allow me to give you some information from the world of major league baseball.  In the 2014 postseason, the team with the most home runs won 17 of the 25 games.  This is not just a one-year item.  In 2013, these teams were 24-7.  The message is clear – do not worry about strikeouts, bunting and situational hitting.  You either hit the ball into the stands or you watch from the stands. Successful leaders manage outcomes, not processes.  They speak into processes and your daily activity must not violate your ethics and values, but one question rises above all others – Did you produce the results needed to be successful?
  2. Think Reaction Rather Than Protection – In other words, successful leaders look for people who make things happen.  In the NFL, the left tackle is highly-publicized and highly-paid.  In fact, they made a movie about left tackle Michael Oher entitled The Blind Side.  But in the modern NFL where quarterbacks throw from the shotgun, there is a wider scope of vision.  Something else to consider is from 2000 to 2014, only 4 Super Bowl champions employed left tackles who were first round picks.  Pass-blocking lineman prevent things from happening.  Run blocking lineman make things happen.  Because the game has changed, making left tackles the second-highest paid players on your team is being a poor steward of your resources.  Get people who make things happen.
  3. Think Collaboration Rather Than Command And Control – Sports Illustrated’s Alan Shipnuck wrote an excellent article on the leadership style of 2016 United States Davis Cup champion captain Davis Love III in its October 17th edition.  Love was identified as a consensus builder, distributor of ownership, gatherer of information, and constant encourager.  Teammate Jimmy Walker said, “the ultimate team victory.  Every player, every caddie, every vice captain felt like they had a voice, and everyone felt deeply invested in our success.”
  4. Think Focus Rather Than Choices  – Army snipers often point out you see more when you look at less.  It sounds counterintuitive but this is a statement about the power of focus.  Focusing on less allows you to accomplish more.  In the October 10th, 2016 edition of Sports Illustrated, retired defensive back Ronde Barber remembered, “[Playing nickel back is] all about your keys.  Follow your keys; they’ll take you to the play.  Don’t try to see everything, just try to see aspects of [the play].  The good ones do it well.  The bad ones end up all over the place.”  Everyone wants choices but too many options results in paralysis.  What you need is focus.

What one lesson from the above list can you employ today to make you a better leader?


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