1. First, find your replacement.
On day one of starting a new position at any of the SRC Holdings Corp. companies, we ask you to start looking for your replacement. Not only do we have an in-depth succession planning process, but also the lack of an identified replacement can even prevent you from moving onto another position. This manifests into a culture of development and collaboration rather than a culture of people feeling threatened by the success of those around them.
2. Make time each morning.
An 8 a.m. meeting can be made or broken by the mood of the leader. Don’t leave your mood to chance. Make time each morning to get your head straight before starting the day. Exercise, read, write or do whatever levels you out, so you consistently roll into work each day with a clear head.
3. Don’t wait.
I once read most people only articulate to others what they think of them twice: once at their retirement and once at their funeral. Don’t wait to tell someone what they mean to you or the impact they’ve had on your life. Few things hit the heart like an unexpected, heartfelt handwritten note. This aligns with one of my favorite mantras: Never second guess an instinct to do something generous.
4. Get in the game.
At SRC, we practice open-book management, utilizing The Great Game of Business. The financials are shared with everyone in the company. This might sound crazy, but transparency is liberating. The walls come down when the financials are leveraged. You can’t argue with the numbers, so no time is wasted debating whether you are winning or losing. That time can be spent on righting the ship or extending the lead.
5. Borrow and steal.
Practice the leadership techniques you admire most in others because experimenting will expedite your development as a leader. Emulating another leader might make you feel like an imposter, but I promise it is more awkward in your head than it is to your audience. Keep the things that work and toss out those that do not.
6. No one likes a boss.
By that I mean give people the tools to do their jobs and get out of their way. Help set targets, provide the resources and support needed to hit the targets, and trust that your team will be successful. At SRC, we like to say, “No one knows how to do the job as well as the person doing the job.”
7. Ready, fire, aim.
If you wait for the perfect plan, you will never get out of the gate. This is especially true in a downturn or, perhaps timelier, a pandemic. By removing uncertainty as quickly as possible during a crisis, you keep teams moving forward and you minimize fear. The plan will adapt and change but providing any amount of clarity is critical. Sometimes, you just need a plan, not necessarily the plan.
8. Don’t waste a good commute.
You would be amazed at how many audiobooks and podcasts you can consume while in transit. There is no better time to tackle the list of books you’ve been meaning to get to. It’s a great change of pace from the news cycle. Tip: If the narrator is slow, bump the playback speed to 1.25.
9. Always be a rookie at something.
It’s easy to forget how difficult it is to learn new things. Being a rookie is good for the brain and, more importantly, for the ego. It makes you more empathetic and a better teacher.
10. Prioritize sleep.
Getting more sleep is one of the easiest (and most fun) things we can do to improve our health, yet many people take pride in only getting a few hours of sleep each night. Imagine how much safer and more productive our economy would be if we were all well rested. This must be, quite literally, the laziest idea ever submitted. For good measure, the same idea should be applied to exercise. If need be, schedule sleep and exercise on your calendar.
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