Raise Your Standards To Raise Your Team
Last week we talked about EMPOWERING LEADERS, which is one of the most important elements in leading an organization. This week, we are on the last part of the LEADERSHIP formula, and we’ll be discussing the last letter R – which is RAISING THE BAR.
A wise person once said “You can never raise the bar on the people that you lead, unless you RAISE THE BAR on yourself.” Why is it that once we finish high school or in some cases even college or university many people stop stretching themselves, and they become comfortable? In fact I remember reading a survey that stated that “33% of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives and when you look at college graduates it jumps to 42%”! This study was referring to ANY book not just a book that will help you progress in your own self development – this is even reading a novel!
Yet this is so different to when we are children. If you look at kids they are hungry to learn new things, how to hold a pen, how to draw, pick up a new instrument, learn a new language, learn a sport; and yet once we finish school many people become comfortable. They acquire certain skills and learn to live within the comfort zone, whether that means a certain level of income that they get every month, or even in a particular career path. However, if we want to acquire something we never had we have to do something we’ve never done before. The things we want that we don't have require us to raise the bar, stretch ourselves and get outside of our comfort zone.
The founder of McDonald’s Ray Kroc says, “You are either green and growing or ripe and rotting.” Stretching is part of growing – its the same when you look at athletes. They have to begin their workout by stretching first to enable them to achieve more, to build bigger muscles. The brain works in the same way and the magical thing is not just to raise the bar on yourself but to also do it for our team. By raising the bar for ourselves first shows our team that its possible-its the Roger Bannister effect. Roger bannister was the first man to run 1 mile in under 4 minutes. Everyone said it wasn't possible, in fact doctors advised him against it, saying that it could kill him. But he did it anyway, and he only held the record for 46 days before someone else broke it. Currently his record from 1954 is six seconds slower than the high school record for the mile.
The same applies when leading an organization, keep stretching, keel learning and growing and as you set a new standard for yourself you will also Raise the Bar for your organisation.