"Control is not leadership; management is not leadership; leadership is leadership. If you seek to lead, invest at least 50% of your time in leading yourself—your own purpose, ethics, principles, motivation, conduct. Invest at least 20% leading those with authority over you and 15% leading your peers." — Dee Hock, Founder and CEO Emeritus, Visa
If you have ever read Dee Hock’s book One From Many, you would know that he was an amazing leader. His suggestion to spend 50% of your time leading yourself is valid. Why? At some point, most of us say and do things that are inimical to our success. Many poor decisions are derived from the inability to lead ones self and the desire to control others.
Managing yourself is not just making sure you align your thoughts and actions with your desires. You also have to constantlydevelop yourself. When you look at the big picture, what skills and competencies do you lack? What experience do you need to acquire in order to successfully accomplish future goals and objectives?
People who create large challenges for themselves are constantly toiling with these questions. Therefore, it is no surprise that many people avoid lofty goals. The bigger the goal you create the bigger the gap between where you are and where you would like to be. And it is the idea of living in the gap that makes people uncomfortable.
When you are in the gap, you do not always have the answers. To Mr. Hock’s point, you will spend 50% of your time leading yourself through the gap. At the same time, you will need support and input from those with authority over you and they may not have the answers for the challenge you created. However, you will be able to leverage their experience. As a result, you will have to lead them through the uncertainty of the gap. If you don’t, they may shut down your initiative. As for your peers, it would be wise to collaborate and brainstorm with them. If done in a way that benefits them, they will be able to provide you with additional resources.
What’s left to lead in your ecosystem will be subordinates, clients and suppliers. With them, you move the needle in the gap.
As you can see, if you spend 50% of your time leading yourself, there is nothing to control. Your power and effectiveness comes from your personal development and your ability to leverage those in your ecosystem.