To know me is to know the Lion and the Gazelle fable: Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It does not matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle – when the sun comes up, you had better be running. This fable underlies my passion for driving an organization or myself to be the best that it can be. I’m not comfortable with complacency or mediocrity, especially in today’s global environment where many nations are seeking the standard of living that has long been taken for granted in the West.
Values that have continuously resonated with me are passion, accomplishment, vision, family, challenge, learning, courage, and perseverance. What drives me is learning and acquiring (acquiring accomplishments in this Journey of excellence). I choose to lead in order to take an organization or team of people to a place they would not have otherwise gone – to build capabilities in an area or team that drive excellence – being the best. I like to go into jobs or experiences where I have no background. This constant challenging feeds my need to learn and keeps me engaged. The CEO Institute has helped me develop more effective ways to reach my goals. However, my life has changed significantly due to the death of my husband several months ago. My priorities and values are shifting and will continue to shift. Developing my leadership model is forcing me to think more about sustaining my total energy to support my family and my career.
Key Leadership Model Elements:
In narrowing down my leadership elements, the core of where I get my energy is my family – the first key element. It always has been, but my husband was a key shaper of ensuring that our children and I were looked after giving me the opportunity to focus on my career. Now my three teenage children come first and I must help them through their loss as they become adults, but also be their key nurturer as their dad is gone. So staying resilient is a second key element. I need to adopt new models that will build and sustain this resilience to nurture my family as well as lead my household and invest in my career. Friendship is a third key element. I need the energy from friends as I have lost my best friend, my husband. In order to nurture both resilience and friendship, I will travel to Peru in July with my best friend to give myself time for self reflection and to build my models for ensuring my energy sustains.
I still have a driving need to build a vision – a fourth element. But I also want to raise my game and build a stronger team of leaders – those that work for me and those around me. I will focus on helping them find their voices. I have a strong desire to give back to the community and will start to feed this vision. I have always been able to challenge others and be courageous and outspoken in reaching a vision; however, I want to now focus on holding more courageous conversations with myself and with others. This takes courage, the fifth key element, to a whole new level and will challenge me on a new dimension. And I take these 5 key elements – my family in the center and surround them with learning. Without constantly learning, I would be empty. And I will challenge my learning to a new level.