Where is your talent taking you?
It’s character forming. I remember someone saying that to me, and somehow whenever it applies it never seems to help! It certainly didn’t at the time, since I had found myself managing a Power Station control system refurbishment project that was experiencing a series of challenges in the last few weeks as we approached go-live.
As we ascend the ladder of personal growth there are a number of rungs that we’ll need to climb, that if missed on the way up will be sure to cause our downfall later on.
“Ninety-nine percent of leadership failures are failures of character.”
~ Norman Schwarzkopf
Author Stephen Covey writes about the difference between Character and Personality in driving personal success, especially in leaders. He suggests that until around 100 years ago the Character Ethic was the main driver and that in the years since then it has gradually shifted to a Personality Ethic, which is more dependant on self-belief and observed performance.
We can see examples all around us of people that have “made it”, only to fall from grace due to some apparent moral failing or another. Many well-known examples in the world of the media and politics fill the papers and the casual conversations with all too much frequency. They leave a lesson that we would be well served in learning even if we don’t frequent the world of media or politics, as we diligently work on personal growth.
“If you not careful, your talent will take you places that your character can’t keep you.”
~ Eric Thomas
Character doesn’t just have to do with moral judgements, but it can also have to do with culture too. Things that one culture consider to be appropriate can seem quite inappropriate to another culture. This can be observed in the world of politics in recent years in the UK and brings a fascinating perspective to view.
In recent years the fate of our country’s leaders has taken some interesting turns, and one aspect is that of the leader who takes over following the resignation of a Prime Minister. John Major, Gordon Brown and Theresa May all found themselves in the hot seat without the benefit of a General Election victory to get them there, and I wonder if we can see a common thread.
By that, I mean that the journey these three politicians took involved a vote by their political colleagues alone, without the intervention of the electorate. Now I don’t wish to make any kind of political or moral statement here, but rather to draw out the fact that in our terms – for those of us not in such public office – they were appointed not elected, they were put into place by a process that was not the normal process that they would soon have to experience to stay in office. They were judged fit or otherwise using criteria that were quite different to those which they would have to face to keep them there.
Although it is too early to say what will actually happen for Theresa May, the other two politicians found the “normal” process of a General Election somewhat more difficult and challenging than the election by their peers. I am intrigued by this as it impacts on the topic of leadership since these people are appointed to one of the highest positions of leadership in our country. The standards and values by which they are judged and appointed or elected are quite different for each constituency.
“The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.”
~ J.M. Barrie
The Law of the Farm says that you can’t reap in the fall without planting in the spring and watering during the summer. Senator Dan Coats once said, “Character cannot be summoned at the moment of crisis if it has been squandered by years of compromise and rationalisation.” On our journey up the ladder of personal growth, it is important to ensure that the proper foundations are in place in order that the growth achieved is sustainable in the longer term.
Habits are at the core of making firm foundations, and making sure to build intentional habits (and intentionally avoiding others) will have a significant impact on the longevity of a journey, and a leadership journey is no different.
Achievement to most people is something you do … to the high achiever, it is something you are.”
~ Doug Firebaugh.
About Roger Fairhead
Roger is a Leadership specialist and uses the PRIZE Winning Leadership model to help leaders improve their effectiveness and that of their teams, through remote and on-site delivery of keynotes, group training events and individual coaching sessions.
He is the author of several books including "PRIZE Winning Leadership" and “Personal Productivity Planner”, a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management and a Director of the Global Leadership Network UK with extensive experience in Project Management and Sales.
“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.
Roger also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.