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12 No-Compromise Leadership defining moments
November 4, 2013 | By Neil Ducoff | 2 Comments
In my book, No-Compromise Leadership, I make the case that leadership is defined by one’s thinking and behavior. It’s about how leaders react to uncomfortable and challenging situations. It’s about personal commitment to do whatever it takes to grow and protect the company, its culture and its brand. More than anything, leadership is about personal growth and achieving one’s full potential so that the company can achieve the same.
There are no absolutes in leadership. Great leaders can crumble under stress. Great leaders can make questionable choices that jeopardize the security of the company and its employees. Simply put, all leaders are susceptible to human emotions, fears and self-doubt. By getting their thinking and behavior right, a leader stands the best chance of working through challenges and going the distance. Self-awareness and self-governance are cherished qualities of the No-Compromise Leader.
Use the following list of defining moments to compare your thinking and behavior to that of a No-Compromise Leader:
- The company’s vision: The company’s vision is really about the dream. It’s not a fluffy abstract statement about “exceeding expectations” – it’s about a quest for something truly empowering. Every decision, every initiative, and every action is in alignment with the company vision. People fight for a cause. A cause is just another name for a vision. Is your vision worth fighting for?
- Personal mandate: No-compromise leadership has only one setting … Whatever it takes. That means getting change initiatives, projects and new procedures across the finish line and making them stick. Anything less is a compromise.
- The company’s culture: No-compromise leaders create, shape, nurture and protect the company culture at all costs. They know that toxic contamination can spread like wild fire. Get the culture right and everything else falls into place.
- Ordinary is unacceptable: Extraordinary performance, results and outcomes are worth the pain to achieve the gain. Ordinary is dull, boring and available in mass quantities – but never at a no-compromise company. Extraordinary is something to be admired and cherished. No-compromise leaders always go for extraordinary.
- The quest for consistency: To achieve consistently extraordinary results, no-compromise leaders relentlessly refine systems and procedures in a culture of shared accountability. Accountability is not an ugly word when everyone is committed to achieving great things. No-compromise leaders know that consistency is the path to predictability.
- Respect is non-negotiable: No-compromise leadership is not built on consequences – it’s built on mutual respect. Consequences mean leading based on fear. In contrast, respect always has an outstretched hand to help, coach, guide and empower. The most respected leaders respect those they lead. Reprimands are replaced with coaching opportunities. Everyone plays by the same rules and standards – double standards are a compromise.
- Financials tell the truth: No-compromise leaders listen to what their critical numbers and financials tell them because critical numbers and financials tell the truth about what’s happening in the company. Ignore the numbers, manage out of the checkbook, or spend recklessly and you run the risk of killing your company.
- Everyone is responsible: There is no better way to accelerate the growth and performance of a company than to use practices and systems that engage all employees in growing the company. Open-book companies engage everyone in creating profit and value. It’s about people taking ownership in creating a better future. It’s about having reward systems that allow employees to share in the wins and successes they work hard to create. “Everyone is responsible” thinking and behavior is evident in all no-compromise cultures.
- A crisis is a time to shine: No-compromise leaders are not immune to setbacks and crises. They know how vital their ability to lead in tough times is to weather a storm. They don’t shy away or falsely trust that waiting will make things better. They engage. They lead. They make tough decisions – even if unpopular. They keep their teams focused and inspired to work through adversity and reclaim success. It’s what no-compromise leaders do.
- Status quo means coasting: Coasting companies eventually stop and die. No-compromise leaders keep encouraging progress by steadily rocking the boat with change. Change initiatives, even small ones, allow companies and cultures to adapt, refine and grow. No-compromise leaders regard status quo as being in a perpetual state of compromise. Nothing new happens. The grit of the company is never tested. Linger too long in status quo and companies find simple changes crushed by resistance and indifference.
- Lift or drag: It’s a pretty simple concept. If a person, team, system, or initiative isn’t creating lift – it’s creating drag. Drag is dead weight. It slows everything down. That’s why planes are de-iced before taking off. Does your company need some de-icing?
- Tough stuff never lingers: Ignore a problem today and you’ll have a bigger problem to deal with tomorrow. Allowing tough decisions to linger too long keeps everyone in suspense and feeds drama. If you can’t sleep at night, it’s because you are avoiding a tough decision. It’s time to go no compromise.
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