What Are You Doing For Your Personal Leadership Development?
The year was 1998. I was relatively new in the medical device industry, although I had been in management in other companies for about 5 years at that point. I was introduced to a book written by William Conway called, “The Quality Secret: The Right Way to Manage.” The book talks specifically about the “New System,” which is based on the teachings for Dr. Edward Deming. Dr Deming developed the fourteen points for the Transformation of Management, which is entirely about leading people, rather than simply managing the process.
One quote in the book stated that the biggest waste in any organization is people’s time, energy, and talents. Since I was involved with lean manufacturing, continuous improvement, and six sigma at the time, the concept of removing waste in the system was very real to me. However, I had never until that moment considered that the biggest waste was centered around people. This was a life changing moment for me in terms of real leadership. This book became a go to source for me and showed me changes I needed to make in the way people are treated so they could reach their full potential, and enthusiastically support the new system of continuous improvement.
Changes in my Views of Leadership Development
My view towards leadership was completely changed. I started to read everything I could about leadership development and tried to implement those changes in not only my professional life, but my personal life as well. The concept of executive coaching was really starting to flourish during the nineties but was not something I considered due to the cost, and the idea that it was for senior executives only. I was never a fan of the weeklong seminars that seemed focused on specific topics, cost a lot of money, and lost all luster after the following week simply because there was never any individual focus. So, my focus became my own personal development, and following the example of those around me that I admired and respected as great leaders of people.
Successes Finally Realized
As time went on and I rose through corporate ranks, the personal development goals I had set around leadership, and developing those people around me, started paying off. Some of the achievements we obtained as a team are as follows:
- 100% customer retention from 2006 – 2019.
- Averaged less than 15 customer complaints annually resulting in a 5.67 Sigma.
- Turnover less than 10%.
- Voted the “Greenest Business in Utah,” by Rocky Mountain Power and Utah Business Magazine multiple years including the first time the award was given.
- Provided reusable surgical products for more than 80% of every OR and Labor and Delivery procedure throughout the Intermountain West.
- Several of the team members have now gone on to leadership positions at various levels and organizations.
I can honestly say that if I would have had the ability to hire a coach back in the nineties, my career could have been exponentially better. However, I can stand before you now and tell you that had I not read the book I mentioned, and started down my own path of leadership development, my career, as well as those people that I influenced, would have been much worse and potentially void of any of the successes we enjoyed as a high-functioning team. Do those successes come fast? The answer is no. However, one thing is for certain and that is if you do not work on your own personal development, you are going to struggle, hit barriers, and eventually fail. An executive coach can help you start down the right path to developing the great leader inside you.
About the Author
Rich Baron is a Master Certified Intelligent Leadership Executive Coach with over 25 years of operational management and executive level leadership experience. Along with his coaching partner, Maikel Bailey, they bring over 50 years of executive coaching and leadership experience to the table. Their podcast, Mainline Executive Coaching ACT, has reached people in over 40 countries and 270 cities worldwide.