“Leadership is doing the right thing;
Management is doing things right.”
COMMON SENSE FOR LEADERS
John A. Brady, Ph.D.
THE MASTERY OF FUNDAMENTALS
Many experts consider Vince Lombardi, the greatest professional football coach in history — The very zenith of football awards, The Super Bowl Trophy, is named after him.
Accordingly, those who want to be even more successful in their lives take his advice very seriously, especially the cornerstone philosophy of success captured in his own words, "Excellence is achieved by the mastery of fundamentals." Lombardi fused that philosophy into the Packer's DNA on the first day of the 1961 training camp when he raised a pigskin in front of his thirty-eight member squad and said… “Gentlemen, this is a football.”
In five words, Lombardi communicated that the team was starting from scratch and mastering the fundamentals after their 4-point loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1960 NFL championship game. At that moment, the entire team became rookies again. By all accounts, the '61 training camp was uncompromising, rigorous and exhausting as the team went back to the basics of blocking and tackling, throwing and catching, and ultimately never, never, never quitting.
A short six months later on December 31, 1961, Vince Lombardi addressed the Packers in the locker room of the "New" City Stadium, in Green Bay Wisconsin. This time it was to congratulate them on their 37–0 victory over the NY Giants earning them the NFL Championship! A significant turnaround by any standard.
Mastering Leadership Fundamentals
The key to the Green Bay Packer’s success was they mastered fundamentals that other teams took for granted. Leadership success requires mastery of simple principles that we often think we have outgrown and take for granted, and reconnecting with them takes commitment and hard work. So, what are the key fundamentals that leaders should master?
Every successful leader whom I have had the privilege of working with has three fundamental leadership skills in common. They represent the legs of a three-legged leadership stool, and ignoring any one or two of the three puts a leader totally out of balance:
The success motivation principle is a ‘no-brainer.’ Personal success motivation is the most significant leadership fundamental of all. Motivation to succeed can be called drive, impetus, enthusiasm, sheer will, etc., and it manifests itself as a deep impulse and single-mindedness that sustains powerful vision, action, and achievement of their goals.
There is a catch, however, and success motivation is always a moving target and sustaining it requires constant rejuvenation and revitalization to maintain leadership success.
At John A. Brady & Associates our success motivation is captured in our mission, “We will find a way, or we will make one!” This drive is the bedrock of our success and an ironclad promise to the leaders we serve.
Relationship Building Skills
Leadership is a perishable skill, and Its essence is based on relationships and trust. While each leader manifests a different style of relationship skills, all must build bridges to others on the basis of trust and commitment. There are no short-cuts to building good relationships. We call it The Shadow of the Leader (read our Executive Coaching Page).
People are at the center of all leadership efforts. Leaders cannot lead unless they understand the people they are leading. Skilled leaders must have good interpersonal skills so that they can negotiate and handle work problems without alienating others. This requires understanding others’ perspectives and needs.
Leaders with honed relationship skills develop rapport with all kinds of people. Have you ever known a CEO who is equally comfortable with the rank and file, management, executive team, and the board? If so, you’ve seen people skills at their best.
Physical, Emotional, and Mental Resilience
Quoting legendary coach Lombardi again, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” Conditioning, both physical, emotional and mental is crucial on the football field as well as for leaders who put in a 16-18 hour days; It is a tough grind. Resilience and energy are indispensable requirements of the job with 24/7 lifestyles connected to our phones, emails, texts, endless meetings, and the stress of dealing with multiple publics and constituencies.
Take it from someone who has been there! I traveled extensively for years helping senior leaders around the globe. My physical, mental, and emotional wellness and resilience held up well in my early career, but eventually the effects of an iffy diet, lack of exercise, inadequate rest, stress, and very little downtime caught up with me. My relationships suffered, and ultimately medical issues forced me to acknowledge my predicament. With the help of some great health and wellness coaches, I am living a healthy lifestyle, and I feel great.
Healthy habits often require changing your mindset. If you make a sincere effort to improve your health, the Return on Investment (ROI) is far-reaching regardless of your age. Here is the ROI that I enjoy from living a healthy lifestyle; 1) Boosts energy, 2) Improves mood, 3) Strengthens the immune system, and 4) Increases longevity. What’s not to like about improving your life and living longer?
Where Do You Go From Here?
Consider legendary coach Vince Lombardi's advice, “Excellence is achieved by the mastery of the fundamentals,” and chat with me about your leadership goals. Many of my clients have told me that my coaching has changed their lives. Why not join me in reaching a little higher and igniting that inner spark that inspires you to make an even bigger difference in peoples’ lives. We can do it together!
You are never too young or too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream!
Never, Never, ever give up!
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