The Catalyst Leader
In The Catalyst Leader, Brad Lomenick does a great job of outlining the key qualities leaders need if they are going to really be change makers and outlines the challenges leaders face when trying to step into that calling.
I was particularly captured by this sentence: “John Maxwell says people will describe your life in one sentence—so what is the sentence you want people to use to describe you when you leave this world?”
I found it challenging, engaging, and inspiring—how do I want people to describe me when I leave this world? That is a powerful question. It is easy to write a paragraph or an essay on that topic, but limiting the answer to one sentence forces a degree of clarity that we usually do not have. But once that is clear, it transforms everything we do. It will affect what we do, and even more importantly, it will shape how we do it.
I am used to thinking in terms of vision or mission statements, but this question is a little different. It is not what I will do or who I will be; it is a very different angle that focuses much more on what kind of person I am than what I will accomplish. I encourage you to take some time to answer the question above for yourself—it may have a much bigger impact on you than you first think.
The other thing that really grabbed me was the different effect “experts” can have on your organization versus “young hopefuls.” I’ve seen it often—the experts can be cynical and unwilling to take risks because they have seen failures before and had to deal with difficulty. By contrast, the young hopefuls may seem naïve, but that very quality often enables them to try things, and succeed, in ways that their wise elders may miss out on.
That is not to dismiss the wisdom of experts; it can be invaluable in helping any organization move forward and avoid big pitfalls. But it does have to be balanced by an attitude of optimism, of “we can do it” that the young or young-at-heart often bring. Personally, I want to have more of the latter type around me. I would rather make mistakes while trying to move forward than play it safe and stay where we are. That does not mean being foolish, but it does mean regularly taking calculated risks in order to make progress.
What about you? What did you take away from The Catalyst Leader?