What do you bring to the table?
Even if no one ever says this out loud, the question is still there.
As a leader, we’re always making judgments (decisions). If we’re not, we are NOT leading. The 7/11 rule is always at work within each of us. Every time we meet someone new or have a new idea or concept explained to us, we take approximately seven seconds to make eleven separate decisions.
If the individual or idea makes it through this lightening quick mental process, the great unsaid question comes to mind. “What do you bring to the table?” How does this add value or how do you add value? Can this person or idea make or help make the whole greater than the sum of its parts?
Maximum effective leadership should always be asking the question, “How does this add value?” In so doing, we position a laser focus on material concerns that will drive performance and in turn profits. It is easy to be distracted. Leadership is also about adding value with laser focus.
Allen Sheppard, the CEO of GrandMet (at the time) stated it this way: “Add value or get out.” He even set down rules that I apply to my own leadership principles and values:
1. Develop a culture that welcomes change.
2. Delegate a capacity to succeed.
3. Articulate a clear vision and strategy.
5. Keep the business simple.
6. Aim for the impossible.
7. Hire the very best people.
8. Generate the challenge instinct.
9. Over communicate to be on the safe side.
10.Keep central staffs lean.
and my own 11th commandment. . .
11. Lead by example.
Insight can also be about the ability to identify the “voids.” Voids can be in the strategy, leadership, resources, product, communication, technology or more. The role of the leader is to add value to the stakeholders in whatever way is needed. Insight, intuition and vision are critical skills in a leader. These include the investors, the customers and/or clients, the employees and their families. Adding value to the organization is about substance, not form.