Thursday, April 21, 2011

the window and the mirror

there is an amazing leadership principle i learned about a while back and i simply refer to it as "the window and the mirror."

When Jim Collins set out to write Good to Great he did NOT want it to be a book about leadership, leaders, or even contain a leadership "answer". But it's profound for leaders. 

In the book, most of the "good to great" leaders attributed their success to luck!  But it simply wasn't true. that was just humility. The Comparison leaders attributed their failure to bad luck. ironic, eh. NEITHER WANTED TO TAKE THE CREDIT.

the Window and the Mirror
When success comes the greatest (level 5) leaders look out the window to credit other factors & if there is no specific person or event to credit they simply credit "good luck!"  They go to great lengths to point out the window and credit anything rather than themselves! that's extremely humble.

and at the same time these greatest leaders look in the mirror to put responsibility on themselves, never blaming bad luck when things go poorly. So, when something fails - even if it was NOT their fault - they take the blame. they simply look in the mirror. no need to point fingers out the window.

Comparison leaders did the exact opposite with the window/mirror! (looking out the window to point blame and pointing to themselves in the mirror when success comes.)

 this doesn’t reflect objective reality, because everyone else points to those greatest leaders as the cause for success!

Again we see the duality Collins continuously points out = great leaders produce Superb results along with a compelling modesty – never taking credit or public praise.

there's a link between all this and being a great leader and leading a great organization. if we want to be great leaders we MUST be in the habit of looking in the mirror when things go wrong, but being quick to point out the window to give praise and credit when things go right!

SO, when do you look out the window? and when do you look in the mirror?

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