This past week I had the privilege of sitting down and consulting with a well known CEO.
He was visibly upset and somewhat frustrated.
He spoke about his dissatisfaction with his team and his disappointment with the organization’s results of the past year.
As he talked and I listened, I heard him say, “I do not believe in the idea of effort. I believe in rewarding results only.”
I had a hard time believing my ears.
This is what I call a fixed mindset.
Here was a leader of a very large organization who expects his employees to work hard, put in long hours, make great sales, and grow the company, but then not be rewarded for their efforts. Could this be possible? Was there a way of showing him that his beliefs were the root of the problem?
For me, he was suffering from what I call “CEO DIS-EASE.”
He believed that effort was not to be rewarded.
He believed that effort was for those with deficiencies.
He believed that effort reduces you.
He believed that people should come fully prepared and their work should be “effortless.”
Could this CEO see that he was the one keeping his organization playing small? Could he see how it was his fixed mindset that was holding them back?
Did he actually believe that we’re supposed to be perfect from the get-go; that we are born with qualities that need no effort to be cultivated?
Did he imagine that Picasso came out of the womb painting?
Did he believe that Michael Jordan was an athletic superstar from birth?
How could I make the CEO understand that, even if we are a genius, even if we are the most talented, even if we are the most qualified, we still need to work at it?
Improvement is a life-long pursuit.
Effort is an endless process.
The truth is being a genius takes effort.It is effort that ignites the ability and turns that ability into accomplishments.
I waited until he finished speaking, and then I challenged his thinking.
I wanted him to understand that effort was and is the direct link to growth and results.
I needed him to see that, if you challenge yourself, you are open to development. When you are open to development, you are oriented towards learning. And when you are open towards learning, you have a greater chance of succeeding.
But if you’re afraid of trying; if you’re afraid of taking chances; and if you’re frightened by challenges, how will you grow? How will you take yourself to the next level? If you have to be perfect, or if you have to appear to know everything, how does anyone expect you to succeed?
In order to achieve success; in order to manifest creative achievement, and in order to be rewarded with results, you need the kind of perseverance and resilience that produces a mindset of growth.
A mindset of growth begins with a knowing that you can challenge yourself; that you can take chances; that you can give it your best effort; and you can be resilient in the face of setbacks. Once you’re free to take those risks, you will achieve results, and you will create greater success.
Why is effort so scary for some?
Because when you actually try and you don’t succeed, who can you blame; what excuse can you give, and how will you acknowledge your shortcomings?
Without effort, you can say “I could have been…” However, once you try and you don’t succeed, you can’t say that anymore. You cannot delude yourself anymore.
I left the CEO with some thoughts:
You do not want to say: “This organization could have been and should have been.” When you want people to grow, to succeed, to achieve results, then you have to focus on their development. You have to focus on challenging them and acknowledging their efforts.
In order to grow his organization into something meaningful and to get it to where he wants it to be, he will have to give it his all for the things he values most. Once he begins to acknowledge the people who make the effort, and recognizes their risks, their challenges, and their failures, only then will he be rewarded without reservation.
Lead From Within: You must realize that you have to work the hardest for the things you love the most. You have to fight for it with your whole life. Being resilient and pursing with perseverance is taking yourself to the next level. And the secret ingredient to making it all work is… EFFORT.
N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.