Last week I attended Cox Business Executive Discussion Series breakfast. The topic: Leadership in Tough Times. There were 5 impressive panelists from various industries: education, the military, shipbuilding and of course, small business. Here are some tidbits that stood out for me.
- “Tough times come in cycles. In good times prepare for the tough times.” Edward L. Hamm, Jr. President and CEO of E.L. Hamm & Associates, Inc.
- “Leadership is about being strategic. Give people experiences…get people to do things that they don’t think they could do.” Rebecca A. Stewart, Vice President of Submarines and Fleet Support, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding-Newport News.
- “Each organization needs certain type of leadership for the different cycles that an organization may go through.” Alvin J. Schexnider, President, Thomas Nelson Community College.
Another quote that I thought was interesting and it is right for this time and I will paraphrase here: “How to do more with less… less that’s more meaningful.”
The moderator for this executive session was Cathy Lewis, Host/Executive Editor WHRO. She asked each panel members, as well as, the audience to give their own definition of leadership. Well, this made me think. Several months ago I wrestled with my definition of leadership, to the point that I could not sleep. A result of that sleepless night in February, 2010, I gave birth to my definition of leadership and here it is.
Leadership is more than mouthy words, showy ceremonies or something you hope to do someday. Leadership is doing something now.
Leadership is doing something your brain says is risky, but your heart says do it anyway. Leadership is doing what is right even at the cost of losing relationships and possibly your livelihood.
Leadership is reflecting moral values and ethics. Leadership works to liberate the oppressed and to provide resources for the poor.
Leadership is action that is foundational, visible, transforming and life changing. Leadership has expectations and aspirations for real change. Real change can only come through practicing and living out what is in your heart and in your soul.
Leadership is unlimited when you believe in something bigger than yourself.
Guess what; in a span of 90 minutes our distinguished panel members and our moderator came to the same conclusion. What is your definition of leadership?