Once upon a time there lived William, the owner of a company called, Allsorts. He had 3 children and bestowed an equal share of the company to each. His wish was that they use their share for the benefit of Allsorts and the people that work there. He gave them free reign, promising to return after his 3 year sabbatical.
Child number 1, Stu was good at identifying patterns and key issues, connecting the dots and seeing the bigger picture. He had a clear idea of the micro and macro environment in which Allsorts operates within. He was good at scanning trends, interpreting data, taking informed risks and decisive actions. He was ambitious, driven and had a clear vision for where the company should be heading.
Child number 2, Olive was very methodological. She had a knack for doing things that made them flow efficiently. She created a framework and systems which allowed objectives and goals to be met in a timely and cost effective way. She was process driven and obsessed with quality and value, ensuring that Allsorts products got to the customer in a timely way. She had a head for numbers, was financially savvy and was always looking to make a profit.
Child number 3, Pete excelled at engaging with people. He makes people feel valued and helps them to see the bigger picture and how their roles contribute to this and the bottom line. He takes time to listen as he finds this builds rapport, trust and better relationships.
He encourages ideas and suggestions, takes on board their perspectives and gives focused feedback. He praises people for their effort and their contribution and inspires them to do their best and grow and develop.
After 3 years had passed, William returned and scrutinised his children’s work. He examined the books, scrunched the numbers, engaged in conversations with the staff, suppliers and customers.
He called a meeting with his children and they waited with bated breath to find out who did the best. He thanked them for the work that they did and expressed how delighted he was with their efforts and the feedback that he received.
But they weren’t happy with his response. They began to quarrel, each putting forward reasons as to why they were the best. Stu felt that it was his vision and direction that led to success. Whilst Olive argued that it was her operational expertise and Pete his people and engagement skills.
William got up to leave. ‘You can’t go, until you decide which one of us was the best’ begged an upset Stu.
‘You are all the best, I cannot single one of you out’ replied William. ‘Collectively you are greater, more powerful and stronger than individually. You have each used your talents and strengths to your advantage to achieve results. It is this combined effort that led to success.’
Silence fell as the 3 children digested what was said. Then they slowly became to understand what their father’s wisdom.
And the moral of the story….
No one leader has all the qualities, attributes, knowledge, skills…. Leave your ego aside and surround yourself with people who can fill the gaps, have more talent than you…
Maximise the use of your talents and strengths (and that of your staff)….
Work collectively for personal, departmental and organisational outcomes
Effective leaders develop their people and succession plan…
Photo credit amboo who?