Bigger sheep do not make leaders
“We’re not actually going to do this, are we?”
This is crazy. I love it”
We were in a Sunshine Coast hotel conference room, after a massage, and my client was holding in her hands a new piece of marketing material.
And a big smile on her face.
There are two ways to be the leader in an industry:
#1 – Talk about how you’re the leader, how you’re different.
#2 – Be different. Show that you’re the leader by leading and doing things differently.
Both are scary.
The first is easier: talk a good game and hope that people believe it. It’s fast and easy to implement. Just say or write the words.
The second is harder, takes longer, comes with potentially more repercussions, but in my view is the far more effective approach.
Lead by leading.
It means doing things differently, not just saying you’re different.
For example, there are many business owners who talk about how much they care about the patients or clients. They talk about how they have a ‘human’ approach to the actual person, and then all you can see them doing publicly is the same usual thing. If it’s their website, then it looks like every other website with the same stock images and boring text.
If it’s a physical premises then they look like everyone else’s premises, just with more expensive cushions. And if it’s social media, then yeah, same as everyone else’s just more of it.
That’s just being a bigger sheep.
The leader leads.
They go where others are too afraid.
They lead with their actions, but also with their beliefs and emotions. Words are cheap, especially these days – in the Trump inspired ‘post-truth’ era. Rhetoric is abundant and not as effective as it used to be. If everyone has a similar rhetoric then the way to stand out is to not have one. Instead, BE what you want to see.
As cliche as it is now, but I think it was Ghandi who said, “be the change you want to see in the world”. Well, be the change you want to see in your industry.
My client above is one of the few women in a heavily male dominated industry. There are strict norms, expectations and (almost) rules for how things are done. You have to be one of the boys. She’s had to tow the line for years and now is ready to lead. However, she’s not leading by talking about how she’s the leader, rather, she’s doing it by doing things that haven’t been done, by stepping out of the mold. By being the change she wants to see.
This can be scary, hence the disbelief and excitement she felt, but it’s incredibly liberating.
Imagine having your ideas, thoughts, and beliefs hidden for years. Feeling like it’s not allowed, or somehow wrong. And then being given permission to let loose. To get them all out. And do it in a way that doesn’t tread on toes or even belittle others or take someone else’s ‘splice of the pie.’ Instead, it sets up your very own new pie that you can create anyway you want, and dominate it. One that resonates with you and what you stand for.
It’s a sense of freedom that we rarely experience. It’s a sense of connection, too, that we may have never experienced before because now people are coming out of the woodwork who get you, and thank you for finally being the shining light in the darkness.
It’s life-giving and addictive.
What have you been holding in?
If you have no fear, what would you do?
What would you say? Not from a place of anger or resentment but from a place of love and contribution.
What could you do?