I had the great privilege of having lunch recently with a retired and aging former college professor of mine. He was in good spirits sharing the many adventures he had taken since retiring about 18 years ago often quoting some great philosophers and thinkers in his stories. I loved the way he weaved in his youth, his family life, his academic life into all the experiences creating stories where I hung on to every word. His stories were rich in content and pure in spirit. I only had about 90 minutes with him and it made me wonder how many more stories I could have heard had we had more time and subsequently, what would happen to these stories, so full of amazing and timeless lessons for any generation or person, once he passed? Afterwards, I wondered if his knowledge would be used to its optimal potential or simply be taken to his grave.
If you are in a leadership role, you clearly have accumulated your own knowledge and wisdom from your experiences. You are in the game now at-bat in every decision you make, every direction you provide and every regret you accumulate. This is the time to optimize your knowledge and aspiration. What is the point to have accumulated so much insight only to compromise (not apply) it because of fear of failure or politics or other barriers?
This week, think back to who you were before you were in the current role of leadership. Think of the things you said you would do given a chance to lead others or a business. What is the answer you would write down today if someone asked you what you would do if you were CEO of your company for a day? Write them down. How many of them are you actually doing? Why are you not doing them all? Is it worth taking this list to your grave or is it worth taking a risk and finding a way to do the right thing? You will tell better stories with the latter!