Follow the Leader? Only If They’re Qualified

When you write a book entitled “How Do You Kill 11 Million People?” people are going to take notice.

I sure as hell did.

I was out on a run earlier this week, listening to the Dave Ramsey radio broadcast (great way to kill two birds with one stone – staying in shape physically AND financially.) Author Andy Andrews was a guest on the show, pimping his new book, “How Do You Kill 11 Million People?”

The book’s title obviously got my attention, but it’s something Andrews said during the interview that made me tuck my lips, nod my head and say: “Wow…he nailed it!”

To understand the context of Andrews’ statement,
you have to know the basic premise of his
New York Times Bestseller:

• The book puts an emphasis on World War II and the holocaust;

• Andrews firmly believes “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it;”

• He expresses concern about where United States is headed – without calling out a specific leader and/or particular political party;

• He doesn’t say that the U.S. WILL be the site of the next holocaust, BUT he said that it COULD be;

• He attacks the integrity of leadership in this country;

• He points to the apathy of the American people;

• He challenges Americans to get educated, engaged AND vote;

So how DO you kill 11 million people?

Andrews: “You lie to them.”


It’s an interesting book, a 20-minute read – short, sweet and to the point. 
(It’s such a quick read, I wouldn’t recommend buying it. Just check it out from your local library.) Back to Andrews’ comment on The Dave Ramsey Show…he said: “The question is not ‘who is going to lead us.’ The question is ‘what are our standards for being led.’ “

Tuck lips. Nod.“Nailed. It.”

Andrews was specifically talking about government and elected officials, but I quickly applied his rhetorical question to ANY leadership position – a boss, a coach, a teacher, a preacher, etc.

It didn’t take me long to realize that’s what I’ve been missing recently in my professional life – solid leadership.

Have I worked for good leaders? Absolutely. I’ve actually worked for GREAT leaders.

But I’ve also worked for some poor leaders. (They were simply “managers” with a fancy title.)

I wanted to share a letter I wrote to one of my former employers before I left and moved on to another opportunity (reminder 11 jobs in 11 years). I’ve removed all the names from the letter, and it was important to me that I didn’t identify the company/organization. (He or she knows if they’re my muse for this blog post, because they received a copy of this letter on my last day.)

The only reason I want to share this letter is because Andrews’ question is powerful:

What are our standards for being led?

Mine are high and will always be high. That’s why I refuse to stay in a bad situation. I guess I’m hoping this letter inspires you to take action:

• If you’re in a position to lead…THEN DO IT!

• If you’re in a position to follow…make sure you’re being led by the right people and hold those leaders to the highest standards.

Dear (name removed),

I just want to thank you for this tremendous opportunity – to briefly be a part of your incredible vision.Even though this business relationship did not work out, I hope you know how much I believe in what you are trying to do. I’ve said this to MANY people (family, friends, random people in the community): I definitely drank the “Kool-aid” and was ready and willing to help take you where you wanted to go.

What happened?

I simply wanted to be a legitimate part of the team. I thought my experience and skill sets could truly help you accomplish your goals. After several conversations over the last two months, I realized that you were unable to facilitate that need/desire.

You asked me on several occasions to be a “team player” – pick up the slack where necessary. And even though I was hired to tell your story in the role of marketing and communications, I was willing to adjust on the move since I believed in what you were doing.The most recent request – splitting my time and energy in other departments – definitely caught me off guard. However, my decision to be proactive with an “exit strategy” had nothing to do with the request and everything to do with how it was handled.

From my initial meeting, to my earnest request to be a more integral part of the team, I was disappointed. But my biggest frustration came when we were discussing the details of my new role within the company. The fact that my meeting was scheduled at the exact same time as a singing birthday telegram was unprofessional and disrespectful.It was a complete and utter joke.

I tried to push it aside. I tried to let it go. I couldn’t.

BUT with all that in the rearview mirror, my sit-down meeting with you this morning was going to be the determining factor. You only gave me 10 minutes and that was enough time to make me realize that this wasn’t going to work out.

I wish you the best of luck. You ARE going to do wonderfully great things. I encourage you to be flexible with the “structure” of your company and focus on the strategy and the people. Those two things will take you where you want to go.

Please don’t ever forget where you came from and who you are – never, never try to be someone or something you’re not.

Thanks again,

Drew

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IF YOU LIKED THIS POST, CHECK THESE OUT:

It’s 5:45 in the Morning…Do You Know Where Your Neighbor Is?

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