Nights Spent Around The Table (312)

If you were King Arthur you’d have knights to gather at the roundtable. But you’re not a king. Much less King Arthur.

But you spend nights around the table. Likely fretting about decisions. Trying to figure out what to do. Searching for the best answers to your perplexing questions.

Leadership is hard. It taxes the mind, the body, and the spirit.  All good leaders pay a price, but most do so happily. I like to think most also do it with compassion and grace (although I know it’s likely rarer than I wish it were).

Early morning starts. Late-night stops. Sleepless nights. These are common to business owners and leaders.

You spend nights around a table. Maybe a kitchen table in your home. Maybe your desk at work. Maybe a desk at home. Maybe a conference table at the office.

Today I don’t want you to focus on lamenting the decisions you face. Instead, I want you to focus on the resources at your disposal. Think of the assets that should be present at the table with you.

Leadership is lonely, but mostly it’s unnecessarily so. Yes, the buck has to stop somewhere. Tag you’re it. But that doesn’t mean you go it alone. It means you alone bear the responsibility of the decision. And it means you ought to be willing, even anxious to own whatever outcomes are produced…especially failures. Best to give credit to others when things go well. Necessary to take the blame when they don’t.

Meanwhile, the table represents the process of decision-making. Nights represent the exhaustive time spent wrestling with the process.

I’ve only one message in today’s show – do not go it alone. And there are compelling reasons for it. Chief among them is, you’re just not that good. Nobody is.

Accept the limitations of any one person, including you.

Every CEO and business owner bears one major responsibility – to make decisions about the deployment of resources. We decide where investments in people, capital and other resources will be made for the forward progress of the organization. That burden alone is enough to create insomnia for a lifetime. But it’s a burden that nobody should feel obligated to accept alone.

Businesses aren’t democracies, but even monarchies have trusted advisors, just as King Arthur had his knights who gathered with him around their table.

It begins with you knowing yourself and your role well. Self-awareness is paramount. History has shown us countless foolish leaders who prized their thoughts, opinions, insights, and experiences above all others. Easily seen in the lives of others. Much more difficult to see in our own lives.

Look deeply in the mirror. Value your opinions, insights, experience, and knowledge, but not at the expense of thinking your business success hinges solely on it. It’s a foolish strategy even for solopreneurs. Recognize your brilliance, but recognize even more fully your limitations.

Multiple viewpoints provide improved perspective.

When you sit alone struggling to find just the right answer you limit yourself to your perspective. Your biases and opinions alone determine the answers you’ll consider. Rare is the person who can embrace thoughts not his own while sitting alone. I’m not even sure it’s possible. Not in a practical sense.

When we’re wrestling with an important decision there’s no danger in having differing viewpoints, opinions, and insights. Don’t be threatened by opposing viewpoints. Instead, relish them. Search them out. Surround yourself with people brave enough to express them freely.

Vigorous debate and passionate viewpoints will result in decisions much more likely to serve the organization. And it will result in an elevated performance-based culture, too.

Better decisions are made with more involvement.

It’s about improved decisions. If your focus is on anything else, then you’re pursuing vanity – not greater business success. As you deploy resources your wisdom will be demonstrated in putting as much power behind improved decisions as you possibly can.

All for one. And one for all.

It’s the traditional motto of Switzerland, but you and I know it from the story of The Three Musketeers. It’s a great high-performing culture battle cry for your company, too.

There’s fun in working together. If you’re going to grow great as a leader you should show your team the way. When the knights saw the demeanor and behavior of King Arthur they were determined more than ever to fight for him and any cause he was behind. Your team will embrace the fight with higher zeal when you make key members part of the process.

Figuring it out should be a team effort with you leading the way. Relying on those whose insights, opinions, knowledge, and experience can contribute to help make the nights around the table profitable.

You’ll likely spend considerable time around a table. More likely than not you’ll have some late nights sitting around it. There’s no point sitting there alone. Gather others around the table with you. Employ them to join in the fight and prepare for greater success and lots more fun.

Be well. Do good. Grow great.


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