Ever wish you could be a fly on the wall when people who fascinate you, challenge you, inspire you, get together? When true leaders who have succeeded get together for conversation, what is it that they talk about?
No matter the arena in which they lead, the topics are certain to be similar. Why? Because successful leaders cross-pollinate and are open to wisdom and strategy that comes from diverse and varied places.
Perhaps the first area of commonality for discussion is BIG PICTURE AND VISION. Leaders who have succeeded and who have what it takes to keep succeeding are captivated by the big picture and the compelling vision they have for the future of their organization. They constantly remind themselves of where they are headed and how they can connect and bring people along with them. They know the next step and what needs to happen for the next piece to fall in place. You see them drawing on napkins at the lunch table, drawing people in, scribbling on notepads because they see another pertinent piece coming into play or another person who could contribute significantly to the cause.
They are always pursuing the vision, so they are always talking about it. If you are with that leader for thirty minutes, you will know something about the vision and what he is chasing now to make it happen.
Leaders are not simply history-tellers: THEY TALK ABOUT THE “WHY” OF IT, NOT SO MUCH ABOUT WHAT IT WAS THAT HAPPENED. They always process and evaluate for improvement and success. They never simply throw a party because something went well. They define the reality of the situation and live squarely in it. They don’t explain away failure or fail to figure out exactly why success happened.
They know the whys of the situation. They ask and find reliable answers to tough questions: Why are we successful? Or why are our products not selling? Why are we able to recruit great talent? Bottom line, great leaders rarely bask long in what happened or sit in confusion or despondency about what happened. The focus is always on WHY it happened. What was the thinking and decision process like? Rarely is it what happened. The focus is on why it happened and how does this need to impact our future.
Then, leaders focus their conversations with other successful leaders on MAKING A LASTING IMPACT. Great, successful leaders are always focused beyond the next deal, year, and situation. They focus on sustainability, scalability, long-term impact, and legacy. They are anxious to share with and hear from other leaders whose experiences, insights, and wisdom give them impetus for their future. They are anxious to help others with their own dreams and goals.
Successful leaders stay that way because they FOCUS ON CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT. They probe, discover, test hypotheses, fill in gaps, and continually think about how to get better. They are very open and non-defensive about areas needing improvement and places where they are passable and even good, but do not represent the best of what can be done. They discuss the unmet needs of their clients and how their organization can improve to address them better.
Great and successful leaders then talk about their BEST PRACTICES. Best practices are the standards or guidelines known to produce optimal results if followed. These leaders discuss and keep up to date with the ways that successful businesses operate and measure their ways of working against those used by the market leaders, seeing where the team can up their game and outcomes.
This is what great, successful leaders are talking about. So, what are YOU talking about?