Five Smooth Stones

The current coach of the University of Virginia football team/former BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall pioneered an approach to leadership success which, I think, is very pertinent to where we are right now. Titled "Five Smooth Stones", it discusses five attributed successful leaders and teams need to truly be able to succeed. And in turn, I wanted to focus on two or three of the steps mentioned in this approach, which I think we ought to pay attention to going forward if we want to make a difference in our communities.

First off- knowledge is the purest form of competitive advantage. This one should go without saying, but I see too many folks who aren't afraid of "not knowing what they don't know", including some of the highest leadership in the country. Me, I ain't that way. In fact, I've always benchmarked success as if I'm able to train someone else to do something better than I can do it. If I can do that, then I can truly claim success. And you should always- always!- strive to know more. Take it from me, as an emergency department nurse- there's nothing more dangerous than someone who "knows everything", whether they're a doctor, a nurse, or a patient.

Second- Leaders must capture the hearts and minds of the team they lead. This is the difference between a leader and a manager. Ideally, a leader should be both, but those are two terms that you can't use interchangeably. And where a manager doesn't have to "capture hearts and minds" to be effective, a leader absolutely does. It's part-and-parcel with what they're expected to do.

The one that I think is particularly pertinent: an organization is perfectly designed to get the results that it gets. So, for the election last fall, it was a perfect example of that, I think... we saw organizations across the country that were perfectly designed for the results they achieved. And that's someone we need to recognize and fix if we want to move forward. And in doing so, we gotta recognize there were plenty of screw-ups, mistakes, poor judgement, etc, etc, that went on. It's a fact of life. There's no use in getting worked up over it, or blaming other folks, cajoling them for making the mistake, etc. The only thing to get worked up over, in my opinion, is refusing to learn from it or to move on. 

These are things we need to learn if we're going to move forward. And we have to keep moving forward; we need to get involved. Apathy has let our Republic descend into the depths of where we find it today, and unless we want to lose this grand experiment that millions have fought, bled, and died for, we need to take the reigns and get to work. "A Republic- if you can keep it!" wasn't just a cheeky retort from Benjamin Franklin- it was a call to action.