Today, we’re focusing on acting with the greater good in mind. Great leaders always act for the greater good and that greater good is your organization’s vision. Not your vision, your organization’s vision. That creates the context for how your decisions and your actions support the greater good.
I’d like to share a story with you about two great leaders: George Halas and Curly Lambeau. Now, in the early days of the National Football League, George Halas was sitting on the Rules Committee of the League. The Packer organization, specifically Curly Lambeau, was found in violation of the rules. Now, George Halas had a great opportunity to eliminate a rival, but he didn’t do that. He fought for the greater good of the League to get the Packer organization, specifically Curly, reinstated. A few years later the Packer organization returned that favor to the Bears by giving George Halas a loan so he could me his payroll.
Here’s an example of two individuals who were fierce rivals, but put the needs of the total organization ahead of the needs of their own specific teams. That’s what we’re talking about when we’re talking about the greater good. Think about how this applies to you. Your decisions and your actions must always support the greater good. When you’re delivering a message keep in mind the words of Warren Bennis who said, “A leader doesn’t just get the message across, a leader is the message.” Sometimes as a leader, you must make tough decisions. There’s no way around it. Leaders must decide. And, as my friend Greg Cleary would say, “The roads of the world are paved with dead squirrels who couldn’t decide.”
Sometimes as a leader, you worry about how your employees are going to react to decisions that you make. Well, those decisions are a lot easier to make when you’ve built trust and confidence in your employees so they know that no matter what the decision is, you’re making it for the greater good of the entire organization. Now, people decisions are the toughest ones. Think about how this relates to you. If you have people reporting to you who really don’t get it, want or have the capacity to do it, are you really acting for the greater good of the organization? Or, are you keeping people around because you like them or because you just want to ignore the problem?