Expert advice on Business Leadership and tips on becoming a more effective Leader.

Leadership Skills: On Making Continual Course Corrections By Brian Tracy

Problems, difficulties, and setbacks are a normal, natural, and unavoidable part of life and business. When you set a new goal or launch toward a new destination, you will experience challenges and difficulties that you never expected or anticipated. By the true test of character is the inevitable and unavoidable crisis. Your ability to solve problems is important, but your ability to deal with a crisis largely determines your success or failure in life.

Leadership Abilities…
In a multi-year study conducted at Stanford University, researchers examined the annual performance appraisals of hundreds of presidents and chief executive officers of Fortune 1000 companies, some of the most successful executives in every business or industry.

This study revealed that top executives had two dominant qualities in common. The first was the ability to function well as a member of a team. When they were starting out, they were good team players, making valuable contributions to the teams they were on. As they were promoted to more senior positions, they demonstrated the ability to bring together winning teams of talented people and organize them to accomplish important goals and results for their companies.

The Most Important Leadership Quality…
The second, and most important, quality that top leaders had in common was the ability to function well in a crisis. Top people in every field had demonstrated throughout their careers that they were able to deal effectively with the inevitable crisis when it came along.

The ability to deal with a crisis could be learned and demonstrated only in a real crisis, an unpredictable and unexpected reversal or setback that had the potential to cause major damage of some kind. During such a crisis, the true leader would emerge to save the situation and resolve the problem.

How Leaders Perform in Crisis…
Over the years, I have worked with the presidents and chief executive officers of many large companies. I have coached, counseled, and consulted with millionaires, multimillionaires, and even billionaires.

I have been able to watch them up close and personal. One quality that they all seemed to demonstrate was their ability to remain calm and cool when faced with a major reversal or setback. When they were confronted with a problem or crisis, they seemed to be able to turn on a switch in their minds that enabled them to become calm and completely in control.

How Leaders Perform in Crisis…
Harold Geneen, the past president of IT&T, a 150 company conglomerate, once said that the most important step in dealing with any business problem was to get the facts. He said, “Get the real facts. Not the assumed facts, the apparent facts, the obvious facts, or the hoped for facts. Keep digging until you get the real facts. Facts don’t lie.”

The more information (the greater number of facts) he gathered about any problem or crisis, the more obvious the correct solution or course of action. The solution would seem to emerge as the result of delving deeper and deeper into the problem.

Action Exercise:

The most valuable skill you bring to your life and your work is your ability to think calmly and clearly. This requires that you deliberately practice a form of detachment when you are dealing with unexpected reversal. Next time you need to solve a problem, imagine that you are a consultant who has been brought in to analyze this problem or crisis and make recommendations.
Brian Tracy is one of the world’s leading authorities on personal and business success. His fast-moving talks and seminars are loaded with powerful, proven ideas and strategies that you can apply immediately to get better results in every area. Visit the Brian Tracy web site.

-How do you go about dealing with challenges — how do you remain calm in the face of crisis? Share your ideas in the comments below.