Four Success Principles
I’m excited about sharing my success principles with you that I have developed in over 30 years of working with leaders.
Listen to the Podcast
Here’s the Transcript
Hugh Ballou’s Success Principles
Welcome to session number three. I am excited about this one, my success principles. I have been teaching leadership for 30+ years with social entrepreneurs. I am in the middle of watching the Olympics in Rio in 2016 while recording this podcast, and I came to the realization that I am addicted to these games. I also came to the realization that all of these American athletes have worked very hard. They have trained very hard. They have really good coaches. I meet people every day launching an enterprise, and they are just going to go do it, no coaching, no training. They are going to run a marathon and die on the road.
This session is about equipping yourself for success with my success principles. It’s a session about transformational leadership. Transformational leadership is the model for growing your business, and it’s infinitely scalable. It is about transforming your idea into results. It is about converting your passion to profit. It is about building your high-functioning team. It is about creating the life that you want.
People say to me, “What does a musical conductor know about leadership?”
I respond, “I am a musical conductor. I know about leadership.” Through 40 years of my career, I brought people together who were singers. I transformed them into a choir, and then I transformed them into an ensemble. Same thing with instrumentalists. Formed an orchestra, transformed them into this high-functioning team we call an ensemble. It is where the sum of the parts is not it; it’s greater than the sum of the parts. We have 50 players, 200 singers. It’s not about that. It’s about the culture of high performance to achieve that high standard of excellence. That culture is a reflection of the conductor, just like your team is a reflection of your leadership. When we want to complain about our team, it’s good to look in the mirror and understand why they are functioning that way.
This session is about creating the culture of high performance. High-performing teams are a culture of excellence, and that is the point of transformational leadership. It was developed in the 1980’s by two authors Burns and Bass. Burns wanted to reform our political system, and his book was titled Transforming Leadership. We are still in that transforming phase. It has been adopted and moved into a style of leadership that is extremely powerful. As I said earlier, it is infinitely scalable.
It is not about you; it is about the vision. It is not that we are the boss. We do what we want other people to do: we model excellence, commitment, and passion. Whatever we model, people will reflect to us. The leader sets the standard. The transformational leader builds leaders on teams, builds a high-functioning culture, mentors others, avoids micromanaging, learns to delegate, and first and foremost, influences others by power of influence, not power of position. It is not the boss, which by the way, is double s-o-b. We are not the boss; we don’t have to approve everything. We have defined a culture of high performance with the standards of excellence defined as guiding principles.
By the way, if you go to my website thedefinitiveleader.com, you can get my free report on this. It gives you videos on these four principles I am going to talk about. It gives you a report about leadership, about how important this is to the excellence that you see and the vision that is in your brain. The session coming up next is going to be creating your strategy. It is important to begin with equipping ourselves for the journey, equipping ourselves to develop and implement the strategy. In this podcast, I am going to give you my four principles of leadership. If you can master these four principles, you can lead any organization anywhere. It will make you a better leader starting now.
Four principles, number one: When a conductor steps on the podium, they know the score. Principle one is about foundations. The conductor knows exactly what they want to accomplish. They have the plan in front of them we call music, and everybody has their piece of that music. Everybody knows what they are supposed to do when they are supposed to do it, but the conductor has the end result in mind, knows it, and teaches it. The influencer is the conductor. The foundation is about being very clear with your vision. Know exactly where you want to go. Also, be masterful at communicating where it is that you want to go. If we can’t communicate the vision, if it is not written down, if it is not in people’s hands, if we don’t have measurable outcomes and we can’t share it, we don’t have the skill to lead, and we are not going anywhere.
This first principle is about creating that plan: defining that vision, developing the skill for that vision, and the foundation is knowing that we lead. We are the leader. We have equipped ourselves. The Ballou 10/90 rule is that our skill, our product, our abilities, our programs, our books, our keynotes, whatever we have that is our intellectual property and that we are sharing with others, that is 10% of what we need. The other 90% is like that 90% of the iceberg that is underwater. It holds up that 10%. That 90% enables you to do what you need to be doing. It is your team, your plan, your financial plan, the money, the stuff underneath the water that enables you to do your passion and to connect that passion to profit. Build your skill, build your plan, work on your ability to influence others. That is the number one principle; that is the foundation.
I meet people every day that say, “No, I have it in my mind. I haven’t written it down, but it’s a plan.” It’s not a plan. It’s a dream. What were you thinking? You are going to march off a cliff and people are going to follow you? You are going to run a marathon and die on the track because you have not equipped yourself and you don’t have a coach. Fundamentally, the foundation is having someone coach you. Look at the most successful people in any field: actors, performers, musicians, athletes, the people making the most money, businesspeople. The people making the most money, the most successful people, they all have mentors, have coaches. They have somebody that works with them. We can’t see our blind spots. We don’t know what we don’t know. Commitment to excellence is that foundation. Make that plan. Work your plan. Equip yourself to do the plan.
Number two. I hired the best players. I have the best singers. Two is hire the best. You want to surround yourself with the most capable people. If you are the smartest person on your team, get a new team. Number two is about relationships. Leadership is based on relationships. Results and communication are based on relationship. Finances, financial results, sales, donors, it is based on relationship. Build and maintain healthy relationships.
In the definitive leader report, I give you four steps, and we are going to have a whole podcast on this. There are four steps to finding, qualifying, onboarding, and equipping leaders on your team, whether it is a consultant, a collaborator, a staff member, a contract labor person, a board member, it doesn’t matter. The person on your team represents your vision and your culture. Hire the best, equip them. If the team does not function, that is what we have set up as a leader. Make sure they have the qualifications. Make sure you have checked their background. Make sure they understand their role and responsibility in this organization. Make sure that they fit the culture because you have defined your core values, and most importantly, your guiding principles. How do we make decisions as a culture? How do we function as this high-functioning enterprise, this very successful business we are launching, this highly effective charity?
Last of all, define the expectations. We need to tell people the results we want. It’s in our strategy, very clearly. We tell them the results, but we don’t tell them how to accomplish the results. We do not micro-manage. That is the number two… We are going to talk about the number one team killer. But the number two team killer is micro-managing people. You might as well throw wet water on them and cover them up with a blanket, if they don’t shoot you first. Don’t micro-manage. Equip people. Give them information. Mentor them. That is a world different from micro-managing.
I didn’t hire the world’s best oboe player in my orchestra and then tell them how to play the oboe. I said, “Here is my music, here is what I want,” and then I guided the process. The conductor is perceived by no other conductors to be a dictator. Let me tell ya. Just because you have a little white stick does not mean you can make anybody do anything. You can however influence people to perform at a higher standard. We as transformational leaders are people of influence, and we create a high-functioning team based around this vision, this plan, this strategy we want to achieve.
Number three, we establish effective systems. In music, I say this is rehearse for success. The very best musical groups in the world rehearse for every performance. The way they rehearse defines the excellence of the performance. Yet in business, we do dumb things over and over. That is like a musical group learning the wrong notes and playing with apathy. Who wants to listen to that? We are playing out of tune. We are not together. We are not in sync. That happens in the workplace because we don’t rehearse for success. We don’t take time to perfect our systems.
We will have a whole podcast on the most highly dysfunctional systems, like the search committee. We are going to bring on people to our charity and our business, and we appoint a group to do it. That is not good. We haven’t given them direction. They don’t have a system. They don’t know these four steps I am going to teach. The number two dysfunctional system is the meeting. Number three is the annual review. The meeting is your number one team killer. Boring, unproductive meetings. That is a whole session in itself.
But here are a few tips: Purpose. If you are going to have a meeting, have a purpose. Know why we are there. Start on time, and end on time.
Be in control of the meeting. Facilitate it.
Post everything where people can see that. Get them off of the computers. Get their noses out of their phones. Have people talk to each other and write.
Begin with the end in mind. Define the deliverables. Never ever use an agenda for a meeting. An agenda is activity; like for instance, we are going to talk about marketing. That is not useful. We in turn say we are going to define the top five strategies for increasing our sales/donations by 25% over the next 12 months. That is a very purposeful outcome. We state the outcomes for the meetings. We don’t dwell on activity.
If you stop using agendas and start using deliverables, you start on time and end on time, you review what is going to happen before and review what you did, and dismiss with assignments, you will empower your team to function at a much higher, more energized, more effective level. We the leader set the bar for all the systems.
Number three is systems. We define the culture in our systems, and we rehearse, good or bad. We define the DNA of our organization by how we function together.
My fourth principle of leadership is value the rests. In music, rests have a very specific function. It is not simply the absence of sound. It is punctuation. It is a grand pause after a dramatic, loud, fast section of music. It is a pause that sets up the next section of music. It’s emphasis on what happened before and what is happening next. It is very intentionally placed within the music score. Our lives should be punctuated with rest, with planning, with thinking, with recreation. Time off, time working. Balance is this fourth principle.
Foundations was one, relationships is two, systems is three, and balance is four. No, balance does not mean everything is equal. Balance means we have adjusted things so that they make sense in our lives, that we are not working 24/7. People tell me they work 15-hour days, seven days a week, and have not had a vacation in years, like they are bragging. It makes no sense to me. Define your quality of life. Your job should support your quality of life, whether it is your enterprise or you are leading somebody else’s enterprise. Quality of life is number one. Balance between personal life and work. Balance is the whole person: body, mind, spirit, voice, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. Balance is managing multiple priorities, making sure that we are not doing too much and the team is doing too little.
Those are the four principles. Get the free report on the definitive leader. There is more for those principles. There is a series of videos. There is a handout. There is a report. This will change your life, if you can manage those four principles and equip yourself for success. Remember, don’t attempt to run the marathon unless you have trained for it. Always have a coach. Always have a subject matter expert as a mentor. Always have an accountability partner and an accountability team. It might be a mastermind team. It might be some other kind of team. Surround yourself with the very best people because over time, you become like those people.
This is Hugh Ballou orchestrating success for you in your enterprise. I would love to hear from you. Rate this on iTunes. Give me some comments. Let me hear from you. I want to know about your success, your questions, and your challenges. I will see you in the next session.
Here is a note for the weary and frantic. You are weary and frantic because you have not worked on yourself first. Work on yourself. Know how to lead. Manage your stress by working on your ability to lead first.
The Transformational Leadership Strategist