Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Moments of Greatness

Each time I was asked: 'what was your career-best moment' or 'what was your greatest leadership achievement'; my answer had always been: 2003 Zhengzhou, China, production facility start-up. That was my defining moment. More than two years ago. This is not to say that I accomplished nothing since then--though I probably did slack out a bit since then :) It was just ... different. I believed this moment had helped my career advances in many big ways. People saw what I did and remembered me for what I did; despite--and not for--how young and inexperienced I was. Ask anyone involved; and they will tell you just that.

There I was, in Zhengzhou, China ... given the opportunity and responsibility to support a plant start up. I was only 23 years old, barely 18 months out of school.

Harvard Business Review, July-August 2005
Moments of Greatness: Entering the Fundamental State of Leadership

"I call it the fundamental state of leadership. It's the way we lead when we encounter a crisis and finally choose to move forward. Think back to a time when you faced a significant life challenge ... First, we move from being comfort centered to being results centered. Second, we move from being externally directed to being more internally directed. That means that we stop complying with others' expectations and conforming to the current culture. Third, we become less self-focused and more focused on others. Fourth, we become more open to outside signals or stimuli, including those that require us to do things we are not comfortable doing. We are adaptive, credible, and unique ... By entering the fundamental state of leadership, we increase the likelihood of attracting others to an elevated level of community, a high-performance state that may continue even when we are not present ... When leaders do their best work, they don't copy anyone. They draw on their own values and capabilities.

To get started (to reenter the fundamental state), we can ask ourselves (the) four questions ... Am I results centered? ... Am I internally directed? ... Am I other focused? ... Am I externally open?": Robert E. Quinn, Professor, University of Michigan Ross School of Business in Ann Arbor

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