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Personal Reflection: 6 Years of Leadership (And Still Learning!)

By Saher Ghattas

Each year, I like to reflect on last year’s progress, lessons learned — and build a theme for the coming year.

Playbooks from 2016-2020

For me, 2020’s theme will be “Results by Design”.

As I step into my sixth year as part of the Flawless Inbound leadership team, I wanted to capture my thoughts and all my lessons learned to help anyone leading a fast-growing team from a startup to 10X growth in six years.

The following are some quick notes I’ve captured over the last six years that help remind me of my true north. In sharing, I hope to help, inspire and also learn from other leaders in the same position who are adjusting their leadership style for the next 10X wave of personal and professional growth.

The Leadership Growth Tips

Here we go:

1) The process is more important than knowledge.

Knowing something is one thing. Knowing how to do something is another.

2) Ideas are pennies a dozen, execution is everything.

You can have as many ideas as you like — but they’re not worth much until they’re executed.

3) Wisdom without compassion is ruthlessness. But compassion without wisdom is folly.

Both qualities are necessary in an effective leader.

4) Everyone has an ocean to cross if they have the heart to do it.

Is it reckless? Maybe. But what do dreams know about boundaries?

5) When motivation ends, discipline begins.

You have to keep moving forwards and be consistent.

6) Five Keys to Happiness:

  • Live the moment.
  • Be a spectator to your own thoughts.
  • Be grateful for at least one thing every day.
  • Be of service to others every chance you get.
  • It is better to be loving than to be right.

7) Apply compassion even if you are transitioning someone out of the organization.

Let’s expand this. One of the least compassionate things you can do is to let someone stay in the organization while they are way above their head. Over time they will become a shadow of their former selves. This is not good for them or their team. Sometimes they will even take this negative energy back home to their loved ones.

As a compassionate leader, you need to build a proper transition plan for them to move to a different role or to a different organization. It is very hard but try as much as you can to make it a win/win. They will thank you for it down the road.

8) Culture eats strategy for everything — not just for breakfast.

Good strategy and a bad culture? Nobody will actually want to do it, so it won’t get done.

9) Company culture is one of your core competitive advantages.

Only true leaders capture the real ROI for their organization by leading culture properly.

10) Fire fast, especially when you are dealing with two kinds of people: “Brilliant Jerks” and “Nice People”.

Everyone knows what a Brilliant Jerk is and why you need to fire them fast. Whatever results they realize will be negated by the energy they bring to the rest of the team.

Now, what about Nice People? There is a big difference between a nice person and a rockstar who fits the company culture. Even when someone is well-liked, you do need those results too.

These people are out there. Your HR department will make mistakes until they master the hiring process that truly echoes your culture code and that’s okay — just keep moving forward. Your high-performance team members will thank you afterward and will ask you why you did not do it earlier!

11) Your company’s Culture Code is like a gardening tool.

It keeps your garden clean and beautiful.

12) Leaders can make or break the culture.

Be mindful of how you act and the values you stand for.

13) Daily routines are the small tiny pillars of your weekly wins.

Weekly routines form the core engine of your quarterly successes. And quarterly routines are the core source of achieving your five-year 10X goals.

14) Critics are your spiritual friends.

With time, you will learn to be selective and identify which critics are helpful.

15) Critics help you focus on executing on your dream and mastering your persistence.

The less time you spend doing what doesn’t work the better. Pay attention to what people are saying.

16) You’ll encounter many wounds during your journey.

Learn to heal fast and bounce back quickly. IQ==>EQ==>AQ.

17) Adversity Quotient is the healing process that transforms wounds into wisdom.

There will be obstacles — make sure you’re ready to overcome them.

18) When you go deep into your limits, your limits expand.

“Not just as a leader, but as a human being”.

19) Where focus goes, emotion and resource flow.

Be very selective and protective of your focus.

20) Tips for high-performance leadership:

  • Seek clarification all the time.
  • Generate good energy around you.
  • Raise necessity.
  • Increase productivity.
  • Develop influence.
  • Demonstrate courage — especially during the learning days.

21) Ships don’t sink because of the water around them (economy, market conditions, etc).

They sink only when water floods inside, breaking culture, process, leadership, hiring, cashflow management, business process, marketing, sales, etc.

22) Silence your organization’s ego and your team’s power will raise.

Always be a work in progress. This is the foundational step in continuing to disrupt yourself which will let you stay lightyears ahead of the competition.

23) Leadership turns tragedy and pain into the power of learning, playbooks, and success.

This will eventually turn critics into believers.

24) Yes, transformation is hard.

Yes, you will feel frightened sometimes, messed up and knocked down. Yes, sometimes doubt will shake you. But also yes: It will be the best work you will ever do.

25) Last year’s world record is your next year’s starting point.

I am honoured to be part of the Flawless Inbound leadership team and be able to say cheers to 2020 and the next decade. We are just scratching the surface!

And I am still learning each day.

Flawless Inbound is a marketing and sales enablement partner that has helped more than 90 B2B organizations improve their marketing through smart lead nurturing, content creation, and campaign execution. If you’ve got any questions about what you just read, drop us a line and let’s talk about how we can help you too!