WHAT HAVE I LEARNT FROM 10 years of co-leading ClarkMorgan?
Aside from the obvious business management practices, I now know the key to being a stong leader, and it’s a value that I aspire to on a daily basis – Commitment.
A typical working week is filed with mundane tasks, but once in a while you must socially announce your commitment behind, say, a person or a project. Once you have committed, you are in 100% or not at all. Showing doubt, even as much as 1% destroys the aura of leadership, and returns one to just being simply a manager.
Of course it’s not easy to be 100% committed, and it’s human to have doubts once in a while. I now know that leaders should keep these doubts to themselves, or at least to a very small pool of confidants. Imagine if Winston Churchhill had said the following:
“Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival”…but then added, “I hope” at the end. The back of the British citizen’s morale would have snapped like a twig, and you’d be reading this in German. Churchill’s commitment, made victory possible because it united a country, sparked synergy within it’s people, and gave people hope. Doubt does the opposite.
So how is it that working in China gave me this epiphany? ‘Fifty-Percenters’, that is, people who start off with 100% commitment, and then, months, weeks, or even days later lose their commitment.
“Oh, you know, it was never going to work anyway.”
“Ah, it just got too difficult.”
“Well, what if I fail. It was just too risky.”
Fifty-Percenters come to China with ideas of grandeur, but end up leaving disappointed, often blaming everyone but themselves. Even one percent of doubt is enough to undermine the morale of a company and cause an exodus of staff, or customers.
Churchill won the war. He also had to evacuate 340,000 Allied troops from the beaches of Dunkirk five years earlier. Commitment doesn’t mean fast business success, but for your staff, it makes the ‘long hard road’ worthwhile.