Next posts will guide us back to the main road of the Recon Leader superpowers, but before that, let’s follow one more rabbit trail that relates to prioritizing people.
The question is:
What’s your (be)cause?
If you are a business owner, C-suite leader, or just feel very in-tune with the mission, vision, and values of the organization you lead, you likely can rattle off your list of causes.
As a philanthropist, social activist, or even from a personal space, it is probably easy to also list your causes.
But as an R-Leader, you know that a cause is more than your cause.
Recon Leaders are focused. Like the R-Leadership bird, the Shoebill, R-Leaders are steadfast in what they want. They will work at it and worry with it, wrestle it and wrangle it, until the goal is attained.
Here’s an interesting fact about Shoebill parents: they may have more than one chick at a time but will observe which one is strongest. That strongest chick is the one they feed and support.
Before you gasp in horror, think about the projects that cross your desk. Which ones do you give life to, dream into existence, talk about to anyone who will listen, or seek support for?
The strongest project in your view, wins. It’s the one that gets nurtured. The other projects have to fend for themselves or die trying.
Just like a Shoebill baby, your projects must show their strength to survive.
How then does all that relate to your (be)cause?
In fact, what is the (be) in (be)cause, you might be wondering?
While a cause is great — necessary in fact — a (be)cause is so much larger.
A (be)cause is one that exhibits a key component, a major element of DNA, that makes it visible to you as one to champion.
The Shoebill chick that gains the attention of its parents is feisty. It’s larger, louder, stronger. It shoves its way to the edge of the nest to be fed before its sibling can get there, going so far as to step all over the other chick. When the adults aren’t around, the larger baby might bite the smaller one. Brutal, but true. There’s something in the baby that, through its evolution, has given it an advantage.
Recon Leaders always have a (be)cause, a something that is brazenly evolving into something new and exciting.
It might be the way they run meetings, or maybe it’s a product they want to bring to market that others believe it because of that leader’s enthusiasm. Maybe it’s their gentle but firm, lead-from-behind methodology, their way of working with their teams.
I remember the first time I heard of a certain airline that had been advertising like crazy: the motto was that this airline offered inexpensive flights to just about anywhere. I checked out their processes, which were different — there were no assigned seats. Even if a passenger paid for upgraded seating, that meant they got to board first. There was no ‘first class’ or ‘business class seating’ either. My first thought was that I was witnessing the development of an airborne bus service.
Seriously — the idea reminded me of what it was like to ride long-distance on a bus: buy a ticket and stand in line, hoping you might be able to dash on and grab something far enough from the bathroom and not end up with the person who always gets car sick when riding and has to tell everyone about it.
A family emergency occurred and I ended up buying a ticket for a cross-country trip on this particular airline as it was the only one that could get me where I needed to go in time. My images of a bus ride continued, until I got on the plane. It was spacious, comfortable. The flight attendants were … attentive.
But the best thing of all was that they were entertaining. They smiled and laughed in a way that didn’t feel contrived. The pilot told jokes over the intercom. I think the whole bunch of us who had been crammed in the flying tube for six hours together were all pretty stress-free and happy when we walked into the terminal. And not a I am so glad to be off that thing sort of joy, but a wow was that a good flight feeling.
The leader of that company had a (be)cause that customers can feel. It’s a (be)cause that gets at the heart of why people hate to fly: there’s nothing pleasant about being mashed into the least comfortable seat you can imagine, with access for 400 people to about two bathrooms no bigger than a portable toilet (the other two bathrooms are for the 20 people in first class, after all), as the people in the curtained off section in front of you eat from custom china plates. Or something.
The (be)cause focused on people first: the customers and the team who serves them. In October 2021, one of the top leaders at the airline said that a general key to success was not taking oneself too seriously. Another mentioned was being humble. A third was recognizing that things aren’t always perfect.
One of the founders of the company started it on the premise that people come first.
People were the baby who got fed first, and from that decision came a company whose ratings have remained near the top of the heap.
People-focused is the best (be)cause of all, and it’s one that R-Leaders live by, every day.
Need help identifying your or your organization’s (be)cause? Feel free to connect.