Jeffrey Hayzlett, in his latest book Think Big, Act Bigger: The Rewards of Being Relentless, teaches us to be ourselves and not to be afraid of pushing ourselves, thinking and choosing differently, focusing on what matters, and much more.
Although all his lessons are valuable, the one that really struck a nerve is what he calls "Clean Your Own Bathroom: Stay Grounded and Connected."
In brief, he reminds leaders that they need to remain connected to the work, have done it at some point themselves, and listen to feedback to remain relevant and successful. The reason this resonates is that I've unfortunately worked at companies where senior leadership has lost all grounding, refused to heed the advise of those who knew better, and bullishly continued on the path to disaster.
And since this has happened both in large and small companies, it's a result of who's on top rather than the size of the company. As Jeffrey explains in another chapter and principle, the company's cadence (aka their flow) totally stems from the leadership, values, culture, and systems chosen.
So as a leader, if you want to remain relevant and grounded, make sure you occasionally do the work—or at least observe it being done—and be smart enough to ask for feedback from those who do the work and interact with your customers.
One of my earliest blog posts was on feedback being a gift. Nothing in the many months' since I wrote that has changed my mind or made me think otherwise. But to get honest feedback requires a culture of trust and mutual respect, since otherwise staff will be afraid to speak up.
Is the leadership of your company grounded? Do they encourage honest feedback? And if you are a leader, do you? If not, how do you plan on changing this going forward?