Mr. Mike is back with us for the New Year and he’s right on theme for the week. First, Mike reminds us that we as leaders cannot stand still. We must evolve, reinvent ourselves, think differently, creatively destruct the status quo, and not just think outside the box but also BREAK the box (at times). In the 2nd half of his post, Mike also likes the “Big Rocks” first theme and I learned that it was Stephen Covey who I should be referencing for this allegory.
Mr. Mike, the floor is yours…
To: The Great Leaders Who Have a Passion for Continuous Learning
As the New Year begins, we take stock of this past year’s accomplishments and learnings, and we begin planning for the great and exciting New Year to come. In a recent note Philip Humbert, leadership guru and coach, speaks about preparing for our 2012 journey. He tells us two truths:
“Here’s a great truth: You are evolving. You are, inevitably, becoming something and someone new all the time. You are not the same person you were a year ago! You know stuff you didn’t know back then. You have skills you didn’t have a year ago. You’ve forgotten or ignored or gotten confused about things that used to be terrifically important! Over time, we evolve. And, here’s a second truth: It either happens by accident, or it happens on purpose, according to a plan.
His wonderfully simple advice for each of us is: “Evolve on purpose.” The choice of the paths that we will follow during this coming year is in our hands. We must choose wisely and well.
A great beginning for our 2012 planning comes from Stephen Covey’s lesson of “The Big Rocks” of life from his book First Things First. It provides fertile ground for our planning and the seeds of greatness we will sow.
“As this man stood in front of the group of high-powered over-achievers he said, “Okay, time for a quiz.” Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed mason jar and set it on a table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?” Everyone in the class said, “Yes.” Then he said, “Really?” He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks.
“Then he smiled and asked the group once more, “Is the jar full?” By this time the class was onto him. “Probably not,” one of them answered. “Good!” he replied. And he reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, “Is this jar full?”
“No!” the class shouted. Once again he said, “Good!” Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked up at the class and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?” One eager beaver raised his hand and said, “The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things into it!” “No,” the speaker replied, “that’s not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”
As you begin this year’s journey, ask yourself: What are the big rocks in my life? What principal goals will I accomplish? What will be their impact on my business, my family and my community? Focus on those critical few that will bring the greatest value to your life, your business and those whom you serve. In January 2013, these ‘big rocks’, when accomplished through your passion and commitment, will become the new cornerstones for that new year’s growth.
May this New Year be your greatest ever for you and yours: one filled with incredible personal and professional growth… for yourself and others;, a year filled with passion, joy and love; a year again filled with magnificent accomplishments; a year in which you become more than you ever dreamed you could be. Enjoy each precious moment of your magnificent journey this year… and have fun doing it.
Happy New Year! May it be the best ever.
Have a beautiful day and a great week!!!
Michael M. Reuter
Director, Center for Leadership Development
Stillman School of Business
Seton Hall University
Tel: (Office) 973.275.2528