Good Afternoon, Friends!
On a late Fall day, I am sitting in a conference room bored to death. Our business partner, Cisco Systems, is conducting their quarterly business review. They have about forty-three slides, and they are discussing each and every one in detail. After the first two slides, I begin to daydream.
Forty-five minutes later, my attention is drawn back into the conversation regarding our sales performance over the last quarter. We grew our security practice by over 100%, and we had similar results with our unified communication business. The networking business was up by 23%, and our wireless business was down. Overall, we had high double-digit growth.
One would think this kind of growth was great news, but no, not on that day.
The Cisco channel account manager proceeded to berate us for not growing fast enough. The following slide compared our year-to-date performance to our local competitors. The Cisco team asked, “What was wrong” with my company. Why weren’t we selling more “stuff” like our peers?
Frankly, we really didn’t care what our competitors were doing. And the truth of the matter was, we were not interested in selling more “stuff!” We were never in the “stuff” business; we were in the business of making a difference and making a positive impact.
We focused on building the right “solutions” to meet our client’s current and future needs!
Yes, we could have sold more Cisco products if we shortcutted our approach and cared a little less about our clients’ outcomes. Yes, we could make more money selling SKUs that were more expensive than the SKUs our clients required. I could have made more money following Cisco’s advice.
But Atrion was more focused on purpose, meaning and doing the right thing no matter what.
We chose to lead with intention where purpose and passion were more intoxicating than profits and position. We chose a path that benefited our clients, empowered and enhanced the lives of our employees, and made a difference in the communities that we served.
We grew Atrion to an impressive $170 million in sales with almost 300 employees. But our success was never measured with our size or the stuff we accumulated along the way. Our most significant accomplishment was the way we positively impacted the lives of our clients, employees, and community.
My proudest achievement was watching my employees rise to the occasion as they achieved remarkable results. I loved watching them discover their journey to become Intentional Leaders. And today, I love watching them continue their Intentional Leadership quest and cheer them on as they make a difference in the world. This is the “stuff” that was and is the most important to me.
Every now and then, Intentional Leaders need to laugh and see the lighter side of life. Last week, I was in a conversation where “stuff” was said at least ten times. At which point, I googled George Carlin’s classic standup routine about the importance of ‘Stuff’ in our lives. Take five minutes and enjoy a few laughs.
In our last edition, I shared one of my favorite Leadership Challenge quotes, “Challenge Is the Crucible of Greatness.” Intentional Leaders are self-made, and they are forged in the crucible of life. These crucible experiences are our trials, or rather our tests, creating a point of deep self-reflection that forced us to question who we were and what mattered to us the most.
Here is a Harvard Business Review article, “Crucibles of Leadership”, by leadership gurus Warren Bennis and Robert J. Thomas. During my Intentional Leadership journey, this article helped me embrace those crucibles in my life.
This edition’s quote appears in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” The Tempest is one of Shakespeare’s most enchanting and enchanted plays: a fantasy or ‘romance’ featuring a magician, the ‘monstrous’ offspring of a wicked witch, fairies, a lavish masque, drunken conspirators, young lovers, and much more.
Intentional Leaders are the stuff that builds dreams.
“We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.” – William Shakespeare, The Tempest Act 4, Scene 1, 148–158
On December 1st, I will be interviewed for the upcoming Growth Igniters® Radio PodCast. Growth Igniters® Radio is led by internationally known business performance expert and author Pamela S. (“Pam”) Harper and her business partner/husband D. Scott (“Scott”) Harper, an internationally known innovation expert. Each week, a new show focuses on sparking fresh insights, inspiration, and immediate practical ideas to take you and your organization to new heights of success in this rapidly changing world.
The Countdown Begins
I am writing this edition on November 1st, and this issue will be in your hands on November 5th. We are just eight days from the formal release of my book, The Intentional Leader. On November 9th, I will complete one life goal and will be starting a new adventure. Here is a little bit about my book:
In The Intentional Leader, I explore the various actions that define and shape leadership. From those decisive moments in which a difficult decision must be made, to the unguarded moments, when our emotional, authentic selves manifest themselves for better or worse. This openness is key to genuinely effective leadership – as Emerson wrote, “The reason why the world lacks unity, and lies broken and in heaps, is because man is disunited with himself.”We have an overabundance of “leaders” in our world today. But those who truly stand out are the ones who lead in a way that inspires employees to rally behind the organizational cause – whether that be developing cutting-edge technologies or selling fast food. This is Intentional Leadership – define this as clear, aligned, compassionate guidance delivered with a strong core ideology. It’s responsive, not reactionary. It’s inclusive, not prejudiced. It’s transformational, not transactional. It’s innovative, daring, and inspirational leadership.
Drawing upon my extensive experience as a business leader and consultant, I provide practical advice and broadly applicable guidance to bolster business leaders across all industries. With an engaging combination of high-profile case studies, first-hand experiences, and enlightening research, The Intentional Leader is the essential guide to cultivating an authentic, effective and sustainable approach to leadership.
Book Launch Celebration
Our book launch is taking shape! We are looking to book Machine with Magnets in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, to host our event. The venue is intimate and wicked cool, and hopefully, COIVD policies will allow us to have a great time on December 9th.
Because of COVID safety guidelines, we will be able to host only 60 people at our launch. Our goal is to create a unique and entertaining event to share our excitement with our friends and families. We look forward to seeing you there! More details to follow.