Tips and stories to add value to you and your organisation
This isn’t my rule, but as rules go it’s a good one, so worth sharing. What rules do you live your professional life by? What mottos do you carry with you to guide you, or to provide your organisation with a clear and purposeful culture?
Rules can inspire us and keep us safe and grounded.
…And when times change we can update them and can go and talk to people who can help us to construct new rules.
Now then, back to Rule Number 6. This comes from the book: The Art of Possibility (Zander & Zander, 2000). Rosamund Stone Zander is a family therapist and Benjamin Zander is an orchestra conductor and professor of music.
In the book he talks about how the conductor can be the person with the biggest ego in the room and yet come the night of the performance is the one person who makes no sound at all! He (or she) is totally dependant on the orchestra. It’s a good parable for any leader to think about and the secret of success boils down to Rule Number 6.
Many years ago a friend of mine had been promoted from junior manager to a more senior role and was moving to a new office and had the chance to build a team for himself. When he started this new role he was considered to be the poor cousin of the established senior leader. The new manager ran 10% of the business and the established one had 90%.
I gave my friend a copy of the book as a congratulations present and highlighted Rule Number 6 to him. We laughed together and he promised to remember it. A colleague of his recently told me that now his side of the business had grown to 60% and was rising fast, whilst the other business leader had failed to embrace new ways of working, new technology and still ran an autocratic team with ‘favourites’ and ‘golden boys’. The organisation was thinking about how to give my friend more freedom to create even more success for them. Although his success is down to many factors, he is a super leader and if you met him he would embody the spirit of Rule Number 6 to good effect.
The rule is much simpler than you might think. In the words of Benjamin Zander, telling a story about what made a fictional Prime Minister a success, Rule Number 6 is this:
‘Don’t take yourself so goddam seriously!’
After revealing his secret, the Prime Minister is asked:
‘Well Sir, that is a fine rule. And what are the other rules?’
‘There aren’t any,’ comes the reply.
This week have fun not taking yourself so seriously – other people have lives and pressures and talents and can think too!
Next week: Old Things in New Ways
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