Last week I watched the movie on General Patton, and it brought back memories of reading about his views on leadership. The amazing thing about his thoughts on leadership was that he wrote them down when he was a cadet at West Point. I’m going to cover some of them over the next two weeks.
Let’s start with “Strength of Character”. Leadership is not about winning. It’s about being right–morally, ethically, spirtually, and that means of course, that we must be leaders with bold, strong principles.
Sam Walton who founded Walmart was a bold leader who said that great leaders swim upstream, go the other way. Ignore the conventional wisdom. He went on to say that you can find your niche by going in exactly the opposite direction–but be prepared for a lot of folks to wave you down and tell you you’re headed the wrong way. That was what drove Sam Walton to build the largest retail store in the world. He always went the opposite of his competition. Sam Walton had strong principles, and he was a truly spiritual man.
Next up from the General, “Steadiness of purpose: Be boldly committed” England Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, also know as the “Iron Lady” is a great example of this leadership feature. She said, “Speak up! be bold and fearless about asserting your principles. Use information, instinct, and intuition to foresee problems and crises before anyone else does.”
The reason I mention these three people, is that it doesn’t matter if you are a General, a Prime Minister or a retail giant, the rules are all the same for leadership. Be committed to your goals and your team, don’t be afraid to step out of the box.
Are you going to make mistakes? probably, but you learn from your mistakes. Sam Walton lost his first store because he didn’t have a long term lease, but he didn’t give up, and you all know what happened next, Walmart was born!
Finally, over the past several weeks, I have given you many ideas to be a great leader, and the other day, I examined by own leadership. I did make many mistakes, but I always remembered what Mr. Walton taught us about stepping out of the box,and I really have to give credit to all the great teams that I had over the years, who helped turn those mistakes into positives. Always remember every great leader has a great team!
See you next Friday, and if your in Bradford, stop on down to 121 Main Street, have a cup of coffee with us, and share your ideas with us.
Have a great week!