18 Nov Take Courage
I’m still thinking about the gathering of senior executives that Tenacity hosted just a few weeks ago. In talking through the potential implementation of the Clients for Life® client retention process, we candidly share with new clients that it is not easy. In fact, it’s hard. It’s hard because it represents a new way of thinking and acting. Also hard because tough strategic decisions have to be made that won’t be pleasing to everyone. And it’s especially hard because it introduces new culture and new language both at the same time. It’s definitely easier to just maintain the status quo – it’s just not bold leadership and, at the end of the day, it’s certainly not as profitable or transformative.
For Tenacity to be effective, we have to go beyond installing great intellectual property process – we have to be adept change management advisors (we’ll be getting some help with this soon) and strong encouragers. “Encourage” is one of the great words of our language. (In fact, I think it’s the 2nd greatest word.) Of course, we take encourage to mean, “give confidence”, “support”, “hearten” and “promote”. But it quite literally means, “to impart courage”.
Courage is required when “Right Clients Right Terms” criteria are challenged and compromising the principles seems expedient. When we prioritize “trust” with a client by telling them what they need to know, even when we know it’s not what they want to hear, we act with courage. Even when we put aside rationalization and justification to respond to objective 3rd party feedback from a FreshEyes® Review, we model courage. These are just the tip of the iceberg.
Being a great encourager is a treasured skill – and an all too rare one. The “One Minute Manager” talks about catching people doing something right. In everyday living, as in business, it calls on us to actively look for the best in other people and serve them through recognition and reinforcement. It requires astute observation, discernment, humility, articulate expression, sincerity and a deep and genuine caring for others, in pretty much equal doses, to get it right. Getting encouragement right is hard too, but we all know it when we see it – or experience it.
I’ve been blessed throughout my whole life to have people who did this for me – many times with exquisite timing when it was most needed. My fond hope is that they know (and knew) who they are. I think great leaders have probably gotten a lot of encouragement along their way – and for the best ones, it has encouraged them to pay it forward to others. It’s a powerful personal ministry, in a transformative way.
Good teachers and consultants have to do this well also. We’re still a work in progress, but we are committed to it, because it undergirds everything we try to do. (By the way, “undergird” would be my choice for the greatest word. Interesting how closely related to the word “encourage” it really is.)