America’s Leadership Expert : Outline Of The Steps

Clay Staires: This is Clay Staires America’s Leadership Expert with Tulsa Business Leadership and Podcast Number 44, Preparing for Growth Number Two. As Clay Staires in Tulsa Business Leadership, I get an opportunity to travel across the country and talk with many entrepreneurs, business owners and managers about how to grow their company, how to grow their organizations. And I find out often, in fact, probably 90% of the time, I’m just making up the percentage, but it sure feels like that okay. Ninety percent of the time that the leaders that want to see growth are actually limited in their company. Not by their employees, not by their company, but they are limited by themselves.

As Tulsa Business Leadership Trainer, what I get to spend time doing is helping leaders expand their capacities. Help leaders expand their emotional quotient, their emotional intelligence, help leaders expand their ability to process greater complexity so as a result they can grow their companies. Because growth is always happening okay. Growth is always happening. When asked this question once, I replied, “We’re all in the process of becoming someone, but the real question is, are you becoming who you want to become?” You know I thought that was pretty nice when that came out of my mouth.” I was going, “That was kind of sweet,” until one of my mentors Dave Jewitt here in Tulsa, Oklahoma said, “Clay it’s not just about you becoming who you want to become, it’s about you becoming who you were designed to become.” That was even better.

Now as Clay Staires America’s Leadership Expert  with Tulsa Business Leadership, what I’m doing with the leaders, with the entrepreneurs, with managers, is helping them expand their leadership ability. Their leadership capacity so that they can become who they have been designed to be. I want to talk in this podcast with Clay Staires Tulsa Business Leadership about how growth happens. Because once again, when we’re young we really lack any sense of real personal identity you know. If we’re not careful we can get trapped in that 18 to 24 year old age of focusing on what we’re going to do rather than who we are going to become.

It’s very common in our society today to, so what are you going to do? What are you going to do? As opposed to asking the question of younger leaders in the making. Who are you going to become? At Tulsa Business Leadership what we do is we help leaders whether they are young or whether they are middle-aged leaders or even elderly leaders, helping them tap into who they have been designed to be rather than just focusing on who or what you want to do.

Here’s a short outline of the steps using the metaphor of sowing seeds in a garden. Step number one, we’re going to prepare the soil. Once again as Clay Staires Tulsa Business Leadership America’s Leadership Expert, this is the very first step, we have to prepare the soil. Step number two is sow the seeds. After we sow the seeds, we nurture and care for the seeds. After we have growth and growth is going, we get into mature growth. Now we have to step into this whole season called pruning and shaping, which is awfully fun.

Then after we prune and shape, we can finally move into this final category which is harvest and replant. The problem is that most people don’t take the time to tend their garden very well so they just get what they get and they hope for the best. They just dive in and start hoping for the best, but it’s so important that what we do is we tap into, we find somebody to help us become a master gardener. Once you’ve discovered your identity, you can begin to understand your purpose. Your purpose will then give you direction in your life. Your direction will then determine what actions you take on a daily basis and then your actions on a daily basis will lead to your production.

This is what true life is all about, life filled with purpose and production. However, catch this, the movement is not up to us. That can be so frustrating. We don’t control how quickly we grow or how much we grow. You see movement is a fruit, production is a fruit of activity. It’s a product of a healthy plant. I want to talk about when we lay the foundation for growth, where do we begin, what qualities? At Clay Staires Tulsa Business Leadership I spend time talking about these different levels and there’s four different levels of character qualities that we need to build into our life.

The first level is discipline and character. America’s Leadership Expert The next level, once we have established a foundation of discipline and character, then we move into this, uh it’s going to be hard. We move into level number two where we actually learn how to submit and have humility. We have that meekness, we have that brokenness that allows us to actually submit to somebody else’s leadership in our life. This can be a tough one. Most people never get beyond level one and if they do get past level one, level two knocks them out of the park. They just can’t get past this place of submission.

For me and my life it took me 47 years to get to this place where I finally submitted and said, “Okay I will do what you tell me to do.” Once we can do that, then we move to our third level of character building of things that will be required in our character to continue to move forward and that is integrity and dependability. Then finally after integrity and dependability, after we have built that into our life and it is growing, then we can move into this place, this character quality of vision and strategy.

All growth is based on that base foundation of personal character and discipline. Without these two qualities, growth cannot become what we want it to be. Without these two character qualities, growth can easily become corrupt and arrogant. I once got a picture of my heart, kind of this dream that I had. There’s been a picture of my heart at Clay Staires America’s Leadership Expert Tulsa Business Leadership and this picture was me looking at my heart. My heart was made up of a whole bunch of different pools okay. Like I was looking from above, looking down at my heart and it was a two dimensional thing and what I saw were all of these little circles and each of these circles were filled to the brim with water.

As I saw this picture, I was going, oh my heart is full that’s so cool. Then what happened in the dream was, I moved to the side and got a side view, a horizontal view of my heart. What I noticed at that point was that each of the pools were at different depths, they weren’t all the same depth. Some of them were very shallow, some of them were deeper. Even though from the top it all looked very full, from the side, there were some that were deeper than others.

The reason why I bring that up with Clay Staires America’s Leadership Expert Tulsa Business Leadership is that it’s possible for one area of your life to be deep and rich and you have learned a lot of stuff and you’ve really grown. While at the very same time, there are other areas in your life, in your character that really need some work and really need some growth. A thought for you too to contemplate here as your thinking about this is how much of your thinking, answer this question for yourself here, how much of your thinking was developed through a personal mentor who sat with you and helped you interpret your life experiences through a lens different from your own?

Have you had that season in your life? And again season, it’s not just like every now and then. It’s not just when I had questions I gave somebody a call, but it’s a deliberate intentional season where there are scheduled meetings where you are meeting with someone that is actually correcting you and actually leading you and correcting your course along the way? And you have been willing to allow them to bring correction. Versus the other side, how much of your thinking was just picked up along the way? Just on the way as you did the best you could to interpret your life experiences through the lens of your own limitations and prejudices?

You know you can only think what you think. You can only think what you think. It’s impossible for you to think anything other than what you think without some influence from the outside. You are limited to your thinking. At Clay Staires America’s Leadership Expert Tulsa Business Leadership that’s why we find over and over leaders that are staring at the ceiling at night trying to figure things out, only to find themselves coming to the same conclusions. Which is, I don’t know, I just have to think about it more. I need to put more effort into it. I’ve got to figure it out but I don’t know how to figure it out but I’ve got to figure it out, but I don’t know how to figure it out. Because they are limited to their own thinking and their own thinking continues to bring them back around to the same conclusions.

It’s very common in my life, once again I was stuck in that rut for a long time. How about you? Have you ever been in that place where you have thought that man I thought I already learned this lesson, I thought I would have already been here before? Thought I had already cracked this nub but now here it is again, I guess I didn’t fix it. I guess I didn’t learn.

If you could again, you know how I love concentric circles. At  Clay Staires  America’s Leadership Expert Tulsa Business Leadership I’m constantly going to concentric circles and the small circle is where I might be today, but the point is is that eventually my growth is going to get to the next circle and the next circle and the next circle. And each time I pass through a boundary into the next circle, I have to deal with issues and very very often they are the same issues at a greater dimension, at a greater level, at a deeper level.

If you see your growth as happening on a linear line from point A to point B, then when you have to experience a similar problem, when you go through a similar process event, it feels like you have gone all the way back to the beginning. And that can get very frustrating because you find yourself, I’m doing good, I’m doing good and then something happens. Oh I screwed up and you feel like you’ve gone back to the beginning again.

And you’re doing good, doing good, doing good, ah there it is again, ah I screwed up. I got to go back to the beginning. And before long you’re just going around in circles and not moving forward. I think it’s so important. How does growth happen? How do you grow? You grow in concentric circles. If you cut a tree in half, you will find concentric circles, it’s growth in nature, that’s how it happens. It begins small and goes out in concentric circles, bigger and bigger and bigger.

One very important concept to remember throughout your journey is that it is possible to be in more than one place at a time. That’s right, just like the picture of my heart, it’s possible for one area of your life to be doing wonderful while at the same time, another area needs a lot of work. It’s my job as an individual, it’s my job as a leader to discover which areas need to be worked upon and then making sure that I have a mentor, somebody that can help me with the right perspective to grow that. And that’s what we do at Clay Staires Tulsa Business Leadership.

This has been Podcast Number 44 with Clay Staires Tulsa Business Leadership, America’s Leadership Expert Preparing for Growth, Number Two.