Monday, April 6, 2009

It's All About You

For me, the word commitment carries only one definition. It means I will do it. Not I’ll try, but I will do it.

It bears repeating that great leaders create great agencies. Those of us who grew up in an age when small firms became large, great firms observed leaders like Harold Burson, John Hill, Daniel Edelman, John Graham, Bill Ruder and David Finn, and many others. These men understood the importance of leadership and, for the most part, practiced it religiously. They created great firms.

While they were all different individuals, they had at least one trait in common: they were all committed to creating great agencies.

One thing that has hit home to me as I have observed firms and top management is that CEOs (or agency owners) don’t seem to understand their own importance to the growth, development, and health of their agency. Many simply don’t get it and try to deflect the responsibility (or the credit) on to others. In some cases this is admirable – but misguided.

This is not about ego or arrogance. This is about the simple truth that great leaders create great agencies because they commit to doing it and they will not tolerate failure.

Start by affirming your commitment to yourself and your firm: “I am creating a great agency, one that attracts great clients and great people. I am committing to and focusing my efforts on doing everything I need to do to achieve greatness.”

Notice the use of the present tense – a powerful part of the affirmation process and a key element in visioning your success.

As you go about your day observe yourself and your direct reports. How many times do you follow through on your daily “commitments”; how many times do your people follow through? Are you tolerant of those who try but rarely commit? If so, why?

Is personal commitment one of your “Standards of Excellence”? It needs to be if you are going to create a great firm.

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