The Joy of Harmonious Dialogue
You know the feeling of talking with someone and realizing in the course of the conversation that you and that other person ‘get’ each other?
You speak the same language, have like values, and see the world in similar ways.
I got to experience that feeling recently when I ran into an acquaintance I hadn’t seen in quite some time. She updated me on her new role of COO for the business she’d been with for a decade.
After sharing my heartfelt congratulations, the topic quickly turned to leadership and her ambition to further develop the current and future leaders within the organization.
We were in sync as we discussed “clear is kind; unclear is unkind” (thank you, Brené Brown and Dare to Lead); “get the right people with the right stuff in the right seats on the bus” (thanks, Jim Collins and Good to Great); and several other foundational leadership lessons.
As I walked away from our engaging conversation, I was smiling from ear to ear.
The Thrill of Leadership
Leadership lights me up.
And so do people who are inspired to be exceptional leaders while encouraging others to do the same.
Fast forward a month, and my acquaintance reached out to me through email. She shared that she and her CEO had signed up for a national three-day leadership conference. She knew I’d be interested and even thought I might want to attend.
In looking at the schedule she’d attached to the email, I was impressed by the topics and caliber of speakers scheduled to be part of the event.
The Agony of the Letdown
In the midst of my excitement for her, I read her last thought:
“We invested $50K in this conference so it had better work!”
My feelings of excitement quickly changed to those of disappointment.
That comment in her email made me think of the ‘quick fix’ solution— the notorious magic bullet– that so many people think they want:
- Lose 50+ pounds in time for summer with this tasty drink!
- Improve your child’s behavior and eliminate tantrums for good with this simple, 30-day program!
And in the case of my acquaintance:
- Let’s get this conference scheduled so we can check off the leadership box!
The Disillusion of the Quick Fix
What’s the issue with quick fixes?
They’re quick, but they rarely ‘fix’ what needs tending.
I know from personal experience how good it feels to implement a successful solution to a challenge.
And let’s face it—if that solution can be executed in a short window of time, the discomfort of the challenge is alleviated in swift fashion.
However, I also know that the most life-changing transformations happen over time.
They happen with regular planning and eating of healthy meals.
They happen with continual patience and support when our kids need it most (e.g. during those noisy, annoying tantrums).
And when it comes to effective leadership, they happen with the application of leadership principles shared over time in training and coaching sessions.
I have no doubt that the leadership conference my acquaintance attends will be inspiring and every bit worth that price tag. I’m thrilled she gets to have this experience.
I also hope that won’t be the end of the road for her ambition toward developing herself and other leaders within her organization.
Because the best things in life come to us through new learning; through reminders of what we need to hear again; and, of course, through unending application. Not through quick fixes.
Time to Pass the Baton
Putting it all into practice:
- What outstanding outcome do you want to achieve in the remainder of this year?
- What thoughts will help you steer clear of the attraction to go for the quick fix?
- How will application of your learning be part of your process to the accomplishment of your outstanding outcome?
- Where will this outstanding outcome take you next?
And finally, let’s say it together. No. Quick. Fixes.