INDUSTRIAL INFO-TAINMENT Wiring Harness News SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2022 41
over the last 40 years had leaders that understood the importance of consensus , delegation , operational discipline , effective communication and team building . But even more important than all of that , they had leaders that trusted their inner compass .
Think of it another way . No one gets to lead by following . If you ’ re the best adherent of a policy , or the best practitioner of a proven practice , you can get medals pinned to your chest and move up in the ranks , and maybe even be the top dog one day yourself . But will that change the course of history , or will that create the next technology or the next new market ? No , it won ’ t . If you want to differentiate your company , you can ’ t just aim to do everything as well or better than all your competitors , you have to do something significantly different . And being able to sense what that is , is where the “ internal compass ” comes in .
Many people make the mistake of believing that everything needs to be properly mapped out , organized , and understood , prior to committing to a course or pursuing a goal . That would be true – if you are content to being only as good as someone else in your space , or perhaps just a little bit better . ( If you follow “ the Toyota way ”, for example , would you really expect that to take you beyond what they ’ ve achieved as a great company , or are you hoping just to do it well enough just to pass a few people in your space ?)
One of the most influential people in my ( business ) life recently shared with me why he never did patent searches and never looked at his competitors ’ products , literature or websites ; if he was setting out to do something new and different , he didn ’ t want to be influenced by decisions and directions others had chosen to take . He saw something “ in his mind ’ s eye ” that he wanted to apply himself to thoroughly , without being unwittingly pulled off course by paying more attention to what others had done than to what was taking shape in his mind . If you are perfecting what others had done , you are still “ following ” – you are not leading until you finally eclipse them - if you indeed eventually do . The best companies I observed weren ’ t doing their own thing purely out of a smug sort of arrogance of “ not following anyone ”, they were ( and still are ) following an internal compass that is pointing to their true north . The fact that they are successful shows that they have good internal policies , strong committed teams with great communications , and affirms they have good products and loyal customers . But to be an exceptional company , doing exceptional things and accomplishing exceptional goals , takes more than that ; it takes leaders that are willing – and able – to follow their internal compass , even though all the maps aren ’ t yet complete . That ’ s the ingredient that some companies have but that most don ’ t .
My final thought on this point as I reflect on the first 9 of the Top 10 Tips I shared in this series : many of the first 9 tips may seem counter-intuitive , but most of the leading companies I gleaned these Top 10 Tips from were doing 7 , 8 or even all 9 of them . To me , this indicates that they are companies that aren ’ t just following an approved playbook , they are in the habit of always paying close attention to their inner compass .
Feel free to send me a note at Hogendoorn . paul @ gmail . com if you have tips to share . We are in this together !