Creating a Make-it-Happen Culture

Last week we set off a healthy discussion about the differences between the leadership culture in Canada and the US.  If you missed it, you need to read the comments.  Fascinating.

The key difference I see is that in the US, leaders sit around a table trying to think of twenty one ways to make an idea happen.  In Canada, I find leaders often sit around the table trying to come up with twenty one reasons it can’t or won’t happen.

So how do you change that culture?

Here are five things that I believe can help create a make-it-happen culture:

  • Decide. Too many leaders have ample conversations but never make decisions.  Ask yourself this question every time you’re in a meeting:  what will be different when we walk out of this room?  If you can’t answer that question, you just wasted everyone’s time.   The same is true, by the way, on Sundays.
  • Stop trying to please people. Trying to please too many people will mean nobody is happy in the end, especially you as a leader.  I realize everyone knows this.  Just very few lead this way.
  • Realize people will be offended.  If a decision requires leadership, it is going to offend someone.   Just choose who you are going to offend.  Jesus did.  He offended the Pharisees while he welcomed outsiders.  We don’t go out of our way to offend people, but real leadership is controversial.  Sometimes decisions to include outsiders will offend insiders no matter how hard you try.  Get comfortable with that.
  • Follow Up. Too many great decisions die through lack of execution and follow up.  Creating clear channels of accountability is often the difference between the life and death of a dream.
  • Don’t Be Afraid. Sometimes I think fear keeps us from realizing dreams.  But when it comes to a mission that even the gates of hell can’t prevail against, what have we to fear?  Go for it.

What are you learning?  What’s helping you make it happen?  What’s stopping you?

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