Leadership Distinction #46: Journey
As overused as the word Journey is, it’s still nearly impossible to ignore it when describing the path a leader must take to bring about change in their world. But there is an important difference between a leader’s path and a leader’s journey. And it’s a personal one.
When we speak about journeys the emphasis is on the journeyer – what you and I experience, how we are changing, where we are going. When this is applied to leading it can lead us to the wrong reasons for leading. If we consider our selves to be the work in progress, for our place in the world as the reason for leading in the first place, for how we might be perceived by others, we’ve got the wrong idea.
Here’s an analogy: successful businesses need to generate a profit. A profit is the economic world’s way of saying that you’ve generated good value with your product or service; it accepts your price. But when businesses seek profit as their direct objective, and not as the by-product of delivering value first, they run afoul, and short-circuit their very existence.
By the same token our self-image may well be enhanced by the fact that we have attracted followers to what we aspire to do. But unless our first motivation is the change we seek to make in what is an unsatisfactory aspect of our world, we likewise will experience a brief leadership tenure.
Alignment with the way the world works teaches us: value first profit second. It counsels us to work for the change we seek first and our leadership second. It reminds us to follow the path of leading first, then let the Journey of our personal lives unfold as it will.