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Leadership: Going Beyond Your Expiration Date Published: Sunday, July 27, 2008 By: Dr. Manuel Ángel (Coco) Morales

As part of our intellectual and professional responsibility we are required to research, read, assess and establish what is new in the world of knowledge to the fastest way to leadership and high execution.  We do this because it is our duty, but also because we love it and enjoyed it very much.  Often me find good pieces of work, sometimes we confront recycling material, and occasionally we have to tackle with very poor and obsolete formulations. 

Taking seriously the challenge of leadership development requires a conscious effort, time to practice, and a profound conviction to renew yourself in a kind of deep learning, or the job training, and a holistic (comprehensive) overhaul. Most of it will be done with disciplined action, and assuring that you have by your side someone with the sufficient wisdom to speak truth to power.  If these conditions are fairly present we can talk about the leader’s new beginning, a kind of individual growth and development process. 

We have been blessed to be very close to many important leaders in our intellectual and professional lifetime.  We have performed the job of a coach or a mentor in order to help these leaders to be more adaptive and willing to take time to co-craft the way of a new path, transforming everything they have done in the past, concentrating not necessarily in the future, but in the opportunities of the moment.

At first this growth and development journey feels awkward as the leader puts his own signature on managing multiple disciplines and knowledge sets; gets to know people and their different capabilities for fitting them best to market and customer needs; enables rich and healthy communication; practices personal responsibility as a core value, before going into a teaming mentality; establishes mutualism, reciprocity and civic virtue as the final arbiter of things.

The more the leader practices, the more skills he/she will develop.  Practice will make the learning a second nature.

Many people ask us how they can validate results.  The answer is that leaders can measure their own progress just by seeing the change in results and how people respond to them as they gain new levels of trust and respect.  The same thing happens with the work of a coach and a mentor:  victories are always quiet, and sadly on many occasions you have to get accustomed that no bands will play…  This is the nature of this job.

Unfortunately, many leaders are so busy (just look at their calendars) that their growth and development cannot begin.  In this case they settle into the sameness of their entrenched routines.  In a world buzzing with challenges and opportunities for change, innovation and different solutions, leading in different fields of influence, longing for best execution always requires to overcome the temptation of being closed and stagnant while facing complex realities.

Leaders can never give away their spirit and energy to wonder, regardless of their age.  They never, never lose their heart.  The task is one of keeping the fires of passion burning in their work and in everything they do.  IT IS ALWAYS POSSIBLE TO STAY JOYFUL AND ENERGETIC LONG PAST OUR EXPIRATION DATE. 

Yes, in the traditional world of work, that of the 20th century, they had a word for those who have lost their sense of wonder, and got tired, and it was said that they were burn out, always looking for a vacation or time-off, losing sight of the meaning of a vocation…

To the century, when leaders can say that their work is love made visible, doing more work reinforces the sense of fun and service.

With humbleness, we can share with our good and faithful readers and friends that in almost forty years or work experience we have never felt burn-out.  Not even in the hardest and most difficult day, (and we have had our share), we have not allow ourselves to believe that we have exhausted all the possibilities, and we have always move into the world seeking for more to do.  Leadership is about always seeking for more to do! 


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