Whether you are leading a team of thousands, hundreds, tens, or just yourself, these four P’s of leadership are essential for success. Without them you and your team are like a boat without a rudder, drifting on the sea in an unknown direction. Leadership is about choosing the destination and navigating the ship on the right course.
Dennis Conner is a four time winner of the America’s Cup sailing competition. He is known as “Mister America’s Cup,” for his leadership in the sport, raising it from amateur to professional status. He instituted year round practice and physical conditioning to raise his team to the top.
Conner covered all of the four P’s of leadership in his run of four wins, and is quoted as saying, “My goal in sailing isn’t to be brilliant or flashy in individual races, just to be consistent over the long run.”
Consistent success requires leadership in all areas.
How do you know if you have successfully achieved your purpose? You first need to know the purpose of your team. Before you begin to lead a team you need to clearly understand where you and the team will be when success comes. Only then can you articulate the greater good to your team members so they understand where they will be when the team is successful.
“There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose” – Napoleon Hill.
Purpose is the cornerstone of leadership. It is that which supports all activity. It is like the North Star for the sailor. It can be counted on to lead you in the right direction.
Once you are clear on your purpose, you must plan a course to reach that purpose. Great leadership requires that the leader navigate the team to success.
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” – Pablo Picasso
Sailors understand that the wind and waves can shift in a moment. Successful sailors know how to adjust their sails and sometimes their direction to make use of any wind conditions to achieve their purpose.
When obstacles arise, the course may need to be changed so that the purpose is successfully achieved. Continually adjusting the plan to stay on course is true leadership
Purpose, and a plan to reach your purpose, are essential to successful leadership. These two alone, though, are quickly found to have their limits. Long term success only comes when the last two of the four P’s of leadership are added.
You brought your team where they are today, but you can’t bring them any further on your own. No matter how clear your purpose is, no matter the strength of your plan, if you want to extend the positive results beyond what you are accomplishing now, you will need to make room for others to share in the success of your leadership journey. You must surround yourself with the right people.
Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and the thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.
-Those whom you follow must be capable and willing to invest their time helping you grow.
-Your peers must be true partners who, like you, look for opportunities to complete as opposed to compete.
-Those whom you lead must have a teachable heart and a drive to learn.
In all cases there should be an open exchange of what each person does best. What can you fulfill in each other?
I summarize the first three P’s of leadership like this: Achieve your purpose by executing your plan through your people.
So why is there a fourth P of leadership having to do with priorities? Because our dreams, plans, and goals should be bigger than any solution we can imagine.
In order to get started finding that solution, boil down the activities to the smallest step you can imagine. What do I know my team and I can do tomorrow?
That is what priorities are for – To get everyone moving in the same direction.
First, eliminate what’s not important.
“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials.” – Lin Yu Tang
Then, focus on what is important.
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen R. Covey