Earlier today I had the rare chance to have lunch with Coach Michalski (Coach Mo) from Athletes in Action. Some of you probably know him and if you don’t, you should.
He told a story with a profound ending. I’m not going to go into details about the actual story – that’s his to tell, but, ultimately, he ended with a thought that followed me:
“In order to lead well, you have to know where you’re going. In order to know where you’re going, you have to follow something (or someone) well.”
He then added, “For a lifetime.”
As I drove away from lunch, those words kept repeating in my head. Because we signed up to coach, we’re leaders by default. But, in order to lead well (and that’s an important emphasis), we have to know where we’re going.
How do we know where to go? Simple, we have to follow something (or someone) well. That something could be a system of play, or a particular philosophy, or your own value system.
For Coach Mo, it’s God (and, I agree with him).
The kicker is you can’t just do it occasionally. You can’t do it for a week. Coach Mo added, “for a lifetime”. I might change it to “until the goal is achieved.” Sometimes, yes, that is a lifetime. Sometimes it’s just to the end of a phase and sometimes it may just be to the end of a season.
Regardless, you have to add the “for a lifetime” because it is the persistence that gives you leverage.
Are you following someone or something well? Maybe it’s time to reevaluate how you lead.