You want to be a great change leader? Then study great change leaders. I think I’ve spent too much time learning about change theories from people who rest in academic institutions rather than those who have made it happen every day in their jobs.
Vince Lombardi was one of my favorite change warriors. He’s not a surprising choice, but sometimes obvious is the best route (would you read this if I was offering up Wade Philips?). Lombardi was known for both his ferocious temper and deep compassion, and was allowed both in a day when fierceness was not softened by an audience that gets its feelings hurt by loud, passionate words. Seriously people, stop trying to turn everybody into the same, soft-spoken, boring person.
Perhaps Lombardi ‘s fierceness was tolerated becuase it was backed by a knowledge of what it took to succeed. In my companion video workshop, I talk through his six rules of success. The first is “Own Your Habits.” Click right here if you’d like to hear my two minute drill on that topic.
Lombardi knew how to move individuals and entire teams to greatness, and that requires of the masterful touch of a change warrior. They said he took a depressed Bart Starr and made a star out of him (forgive the pun). Like all great change warriors, Lombardi started by touching the heart and soul of his players. For all of his fierce words, he believed in them more than they believed in himself.
If you want to lead change like Lombardi, you have to first do the following three things:
In a book written by Vince Lombardi Jr. called What It Takes To Be #1 – Vince Lombardi on Leadership he shares the following quote from his father:
“I have been wounded, but not slain; I shall lie here and bleed awhile. Then I shall rise and fight again. The title of champion may from time to time fall to others more than ourselves. But the heart, the spirit, and the soul of champions remain in Green Bay.” – Vince Lombardi
Let me ask you this:
Leaders, people are watching you during times of change. They derive their sense of courage from you. They emulate you. What are you teaching them?