CFN – The Difference between a Good Leader and a Great Leader is Humility, Doubt and Drive!
James C. Collins loves to tell the story of Darwin E. Smith, someone most readers have probably never heard of. As Smith was ending two decades at the helm of Kimberly-Clark, maker of Kleenex and other personal-use paper products, he was asked what had driven him, what had he done to make his company so successful over time.
“I was just trying to become qualified for the job,” Collins quotes Smith as saying.
Smith’s statement is at the heart of Collins’ latest management study, which finds that leaders of great companies have genuine humility and self-doubt but also the singular drive to make their companies succeed.
Collins, a former Stanford Business School professor now based in Boulder, Colo., and his 22-person research staff spent four years trying to determine what made companies grow from merely good organizations to great ones and what sorts of leaders were responsible for that transition.
Early on in the process, he took as a premise that goodness was anathema to greatness.
“Good is the enemy of great and is why so many things don’t become great,” he said. “We don’t have really great schools because we have good schools. We don’t have great companies because we have so many good ones. And when we look back over a life and see if it is a great one, we don’t see many because it is just so easy to settle for a good one.”
And this is where the City of Cornwall lays, in mediocrity and for arguments sake a GOOD City with so much untapped potential to become GREAT but too many of our leaders lack what it takes to become GREAT and are missing one of three important traits that are instilled in GREAT LEADERS! These personal traits of HUMILITY, DOUBT and DRIVE!
In business, as a young academic, I learned about “Level 5 Leadership”. Leadership has become our all-purpose answer for everything we don’t understand about business. In the 1500s, we had another answer to unresolved questions. If there was an earthquake, we didn’t know how it happened, so we said, ‘God did it.’ The plague? ‘God did it.’”
Then scientific breakthroughs made us realize that earthquakes were caused by seismic shifts and plagues by epidemiological consequences. “But in management, we are still in the Dark Ages and our answer always seems to be ‘leadership.’”
The combination of complex and sometimes contradictory traits of humility and internal drive ‘Level 5 leadership,’ the top form of hierarchy of management personal attributes. In fact the prominence of Level 5 executives is cut off by those we call Level 4 types – people who do have effective leadership skills, but are often more committed to self-aggrandizement than the sustained future of the institution.
Local Leaders both in Business and in Politics need to use a common evaluation tactic called “the Window and the Mirror”. Level 5 executives tended to look in the mirror and blame themselves for mistakes. But when things were good, they would look out the window and either proclaims how everyone in the company was wonderful or how factors of fortune caused success.
Unfortunately we are drawn to Level 4 Leaders
Cornwall is without a doubt drawn to Level 4 Leaders and has an abundance of those in political office. When can you say was the last time we had a Level 5 Leader in Cornwall? We maybe never have and hence the reason for our untapped potential! However, there are those with potential but these people will never be Great Leaders because again they lack DRIVE, HUMILITY or DOUBT!
Our current state and all of the local debates and hot issues can be co-related to the lack of GREAT LEADERSHIP!
During times of uncertainty GREAT LEADERS can keep a company, or for this purpose a community, together by “STANDING UP for what is RIGHT!” Free speech cannot nor should never be condemned and bullied to the point that someone will suffer personally for their actions! This is an act of violence and is a strong indication of weak leadership!
A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Cornwall’s Leadership is not GREAT because it is failing to simply look in the Mirror! We are too quick to blame others or ignore touchy subjects! A GREAT leader can tackle HARD subjects and looks forward to the most difficult situations because they require more work! Our current leaders are GOOD but here are a list things that need to be said and are truly unbiased:
- If any employee has abused their position then they should be fired without bias! If they are publicly being abused then they should be protected! Cornwall City Council’s failure to either defend or fire its current CAO leads everyone to DOUBT that the CAO has done something wrong which may or may not be the case; either way something is better than nothing despite the current status quo of “HUSH – HUSH!” It shows a lack of HUMILITY and DOUBT by City Council and the rest Administration!
- Despite personal opinion business and marketing decisions should be made based on their effectiveness and results. Business to business transactions are done daily by people who do not personally like each other but at least the owners are HUMBLE enough to see the need or advantages of such transactions . The Cornwall Free News has more local viewers than any other on-line media site operating in Cornwall and yet they are being purposely vilified due to the personal opinions and not based on results. Professional decisions are based on needs and have no room for personal opinion!
- Not publicly supporting any side in the CCH French Language debate shows a lack DRIVE and purpose! Although the non decision essentially is a show of support for the CCH; it would have been nice to have seen some GREAT leadership when the opportunity arose but yet many were left wanting more and I honestly agree. Council should not be confused by the fact that some people were happy with the result. That doesn’t mean the right decision or actions were appropriately used during this sensitive subject!
All in all, I love my City and it will always be a GOOD place to live, work and play but will it ever be a GREAT community?