#111-3 Ways To Fix Your Biggest Restrictor
John (Intro): I have been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good. After running companies small and large for the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic: What makes the best leaders so good? Welcome to Tomorrow’s Leader.
John: All right, welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dive deep on all things leader related, related to leading yourself and leading others. I’m John Laurito, your host here on January 4th, 5th, early into this new year of 2021. Hope your year is getting off to a fantastic start.
John: So I want to start today’s episode, which I think will be a really valuable episode for many of you who are plagued by some of the problems that I’m going to talk about today. But I want to talk about a story and this goes back to my lifting days when I first started working out. And I remember now, I think I started working out when I was 15 or so. I shared the story about what prompted me to work out. And like a lot of kids who start working out, it’s for a reason. You’re in a scuffle or something or you get to pick them, whatever. Well, you know, go back a few episodes to my story about getting put in a headlock that I couldn’t get out of in the middle of the hallway in high school. And that was not a fun day. But it changed the rest of my life because I started working out and never stopped.
John: So when I did start working out and really started working out seriously, I remember there were certain muscle groups that just responded faster than others. My back was one of them that just responded fast for some reason, couldn’t explain it. I just could feel the back exercises better. I could lift a lot of weight. My back became wider and thicker and they grew faster than many of the other body parts I had, including my arms. And for those of you that workout, you do certain exercises for your back, which are called lat pulldowns, and you do rows and all kinds of stuff.
John: And all of those, virtually all of them for your back, involve your arms. So what I found at some point my back became so strong that it ultimately was not my back that was giving out. I could actually lift so much weight with my back, but it was my arms and in particular my forearms, because my grip just could not hold on to the weight that my back was really wanting to lift. And consequently, I hit this major plateau. I couldn’t get my back to grow anymore. And it wasn’t because my back didn’t want to grow, it wasn’t because I didn’t want it to grow. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to. It was able to lift more weight. My arms, my forearms were the weakness in this. So I couldn’t figure out what to do with it. And then a friend turned me on to a great solution. And if you have lifted and never seen one of these things before, for those of you not watching this on YouTube, I’m holding up this black strap and you actually have two of these things and these are called lifting straps. And what you do with these things is you put them in your arm, in your around your wrist, and then you wrap this piece around the bar, you tighten it up and all of a sudden your grip is no longer the problem. You can actually lift significantly more weight than you would otherwise.
Problem was totally solved when I meant totally solved. It was like night and day I had the strength of somebody twice as strong as I was, at least on my forearms. And now I could continue to challenge my back and lift more and more weights and my back grew and bubbled up. So is kind of this neat, easy, cheap solution to what was a big problem at that time? All right.
John: What do I bring this up for? What does this have to do with leadership? It actually has a lot to do with leadership, because what I find in working with leaders, what I find in working with different organizations is that oftentimes and I’ve heard and you’ve heard the saying, OK, or the dilemma. I guess the big question, do you focus more on your strengths or do you focus more on your weaknesses? We all have both. And what direction do you spend more of your effort and energy and time? I’m a big believer. You spend more of your effort and energy and time on your strengths and take your strengths to as high level as you can get. And if you look at ultra successful people and top leaders in all different organizations, they have continued to develop their strengths. But what happens when one of your weaknesses gets in the way of your strengths developing in the case, for example, of my forearms not allowing my back to continue to grow? Well, what happens at that point and their leaders that are plagued by this problem, some don’t even realize it, that they have a weakness that’s actually getting in the way of them reaching their potential and then the organization ultimately reaching their potential because leadership is the number one key, the number one ingredient to an organization’s success. Yes, that’s absolutely true.
John: Leadership is the number one ingredient to an organization’s long term success. The product and the service could be great, but without great leadership, it’s ultimately going to go so far. So what do we do? How do we handle that? I’ll give you a couple of different examples. You know, it’s almost like a car that has a 600 horsepower engine, but you’ve got bicycle tires on it. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how fast that engine is or powerful that engine is if the wheels are not. That car is not going to do what it’s ultimately capable to do, so you have to have a well-rounded vehicle, you have to have a well-rounded leader. Let me give you a couple of different examples. I’ve known leaders and you may know them in your walks of life, you know, even maybe famous leaders, maybe political leaders that have a really very strong vision.
John: I worked with a leader who had an exceptional vision around where she wanted to take her organization to a really, really high level. I thought it was really, really cool, but she had a lot of difficulty communicating her vision. So ultimately, this vision was really cool when you drew it out of her and you really got to understand and take a lot of time to really understand where she was trying to go. It was a really cool, powerful vision, but it was not something she was able to communicate in a clear and compelling way. So because of that, that doesn’t really ultimately give enough buying power fuel into that to get a lot of people on board the boat in the same direction to get to that vision. Right. So communication was her weakness, and that was definitely a gap that held back the strength. Her strength was she was a visionary. She could strategically think things out. She was great tactically, but she ultimately couldn’t communicate things in a way where it motivated people to do the things that they needed to do to ultimately accomplish that vision.
John: Another example, I recently was looking at golf clubs for my son and we went into a store. And, you know, it’s been a long time since I’ve bought golf clubs. I’ve had mine for like
20 years and I’ve come out of it a little bit. I started to do some research, but I kind of forgot about all the ins and outs of buying a golf club. I mean, you’ve got, you know, the different obviously clubs, cavity back bleeds. You’ve got different lengths of the club. You’ve got different, you know, angles, you’ve got shaft’s different types of shaft’s, all kinds of stuff. So I started with him to ask some questions. We went to a golf store and started to ask one of the guys there for some help. And we said, listen, I don’t really understand the difference between all the different shaft types who’ve got regular flex. You’ve got stiff, you’ve got flexible steel, graphite, like. Can you walk us through what we should be looking for and what’s the differences? Well, you would have thought we’d asked a brain surgeon about all the ins and outs of how a brain works and the surgery procedures. It was the most complicated answer I’ve ever heard. And I looked over my son who had just this, like, blank expression on his face because he didn’t understand a word. And I understand where the guy was saying it was. It was now he was knowledgeable. I could tell he knew everything there was to know about golf clubs. And he was excited to give us the answer. But his communication left us ultimately super confused to the point where we left. We didn’t even buy the clubs there.
John: So, you know, there’s a great example. Somebody had the knowledge, the expertise, the technical ability, but lacked the communication skills to ultimately deliver that expertise and the technical skills and ultimately really be a value to somebody else. I see other different types of examples. I worked with a leader and this was somebody who was being put into who was getting promoted into a role and was running a pretty large organization. It was roughly 50 people. And this individual was a really dynamic individual. He was very well-liked, very positive energy, very smart, great vision, very respected. It was not a surprise when he was given this opportunity for this really, really great promotion. But what quickly became apparent was there was one glaring major weakness that this leader had, and it ultimately handicapped him significantly. And that was he was incapable of making a decision, literally incapable of making any kind of decision. Didn’t matter if it was a big one or a small one. It wasn’t that he was bad at making decisions. He just would not make a decision for fear of making the wrong decision when it was.
John: So it really quickly became apparent that this individual was unable to make decisions. People go to him for answers. Ultimately, things would roll up to him and things would just come to this screeching stop. And so people around him became unbelievably frustrated, like pulling out their hair, frustrated and not able to really move the organization forward, because this leader, as smart as he was, as liked as he was as much of a. In areas he couldn’t pull the trigger and make a decision even on small stuff, and what happened then is this really well-liked, well-respected leader. Ultimately, there was a lot of resentment that grew and built and the likability factor went down. The respect level went down, the organization started to underperform. It was this big chain reaction that was one glaring weakness, all these strengths, but that one weakness held him back from ultimately getting as far as he could have gone in leadership. And that was just decision making. It’s a small thing, but a big thing, the ability to make decisions. I’ll give you another example. And I’ve seen this and times in my career, I suffered from this as well.
John: There was a time where I said early in my career that I wanted to build an organization of people that were just like me. They thought like me. They had a work ethic like me. They had the personality style like me. And literally I started building an organization
of people that I liked because they were similar to me. But ultimately I realized that it didn’t take me too long to realize that’s really not a great organization. Right. The best organizations are super diverse in terms of everything from personality to background, educational background perspectives. I mean, you want an organization that’s got all different levels of technical ability and just want an organization where people are willing to kind of battle it out and share different perspectives and not all nod their heads in the same direction and agree on every single thing. And I see leaders all the time. They build organizations in a way where it feels good because they’ve got people that are just like them and they ultimately are what I call just not versatile. They’re one dimensional leaders. They’re capable of leading one type of person. They can do it very well, but they’re only capable of one of leading one type of individual and they only attract that one type of individual and then their organization only goes so far. There’s ultimately a cap that you’re going to hit because you have the same people with the same strengths and the same personalities and the same fears and the same comfort zones and the same intellect, everything. And you really quickly realize you’ve got a ceiling of complexity that you’re going to hit against without diversity.
John: So a leader that might have all these strengths, but it really doesn’t have versatility to be able to change their leadership style. That’s another one, is to be able to lead different types of people effectively, but also lead in different situations differently because there are changing circumstances, even with the same people and personalities, but changing circumstances and changing landscape which require different leadership skills. And ultimately, that’s critical. So. My point today is, how do you solve for what I call your biggest restrictor? We all have one and maybe one. It may be many things, several things, but typically it’s going to be one thing that holds you back. And it’s not a weakness that’s worth focusing on unless it’s something that’s getting in the way of you truly developing your strengths. If it’s a weakness that doesn’t really matter, that’s not important. I’m a big believer. Don’t worry about that. Don’t try to be perfect in every single thing. Go with your strengths. But when you have something, that’s what I call the biggest restrictor that limits your ability to truly max out your potential and your organization’s potential, you have to do something about it.
John: And there’s three things you can do. I’m going to share my three days now. You may have heard me talk about the three days of the four days that I’ve shared before when it comes to time management, go back a few episodes to that one on time management and you’ll hear that this is a totally different one. One of them is actually the same. OK, here’s the three days for you when you identify your biggest restrictor on how to solve it. One the first is I can delegate, right? So if I’m not a great communicator. I can hire people around me who might be the people to help me get that message apart, sorry message across, they might be people that can help me with the communication. They may be people I know, a lot of leaders that have people that write their emails. They are people that write speeches for them. There are people that do all kinds of things that help them with the communication they delegated to somebody who is exceptional and much, much better than them. That’s number one.
John: OK, number two is I also can develop. I can choose to spend some time and work on that. Maybe if communication is my weakness, I could practice on communicating my vision. I could work on that enough so that I could articulate it in a clear way, in a motivating way, in
a way that really gets people jazzed up about where we’re going. Right. I could just practice that. I could develop that. So that’s my second choice. I’ve got delegate first, developed second. Here’s the last one.
John: Define and design. What I mean by that is let me define what I’m really trying to accomplish. What am I trying to solve, what problem am I trying to solve? What is my ultimate goal and then let me design or redesign how I’m going to ultimately get there. It may not need to involve my weakness at all. I mean, it may not need to ultimately in this world that we’re in has changed so fast. It’s opened up all different kinds of new ways to do things. But I’ll give you an example. That golf club story around the exploration of the shaft, well, that didn’t work that guy as much as great intent tensions as he had and his much skills and expertise and technical ability and knowledge he had. His communication style was not helping us at all. It hurt us and made us more confused than anything else. When we went to the next place, the next golf store actually had on the wall, it was probably a three feet by four foot huge sign that walk through all the different types of shafts and what they were, what type of player they were good for, what type of player they were bad for, and also what kind of your swing speed would dictate which shaft you needed if you were swinging at this speed. This is what you should get. This speed, this you got, it was like, wow, it was the most easy to understand. It was visual. It looked great. It was easy to understand.
John: It answered all the questions I had and then some. It wasn’t a human. All it was, was somebody took the time to create the sign because it probably is a question that’s asked a lot and they defined what their goal was. We want to educate our consumers. We want to educate our customers about how to pick out the right shaft and why it’s important even to pick out the right shaft. And they designed a process around that in a way they could do it because they needed to do it over and over again in a way that can do a great deal. And it wasn’t a person communicating. It was a sign and it did a fantastic job.
John: So those are the three ways that you can solve for your biggest restrictor, one delegate to develop and third is defined in design. I promise you, if you find the biggest restrictor and you do one of those three things, you will see dramatic improvements to your leadership effectiveness, your impact and your results. And by the way, you’re going to have a lot more fun because you’ll see yourself growing that much faster. So I’m more than happy to talk to you one on one if you’ve got some questions about your own biggest restrictor. Because I’ve had them. I’ve seen them. I’ve worked with people through them. I can help you feel free to directly message me or reach out directly. I’m happy to help. In the meantime, please like, share, comment, give me your feedback. Subscribe, of course, and go down below. Hit that five star review and let me know your thoughts and have a great day. I’ll see you next time. Thanks, everybody.
John (Closing): Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions, or inquiries, about having me at your next event, or personal coaching, reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org Once again, that’s email@example.com. Thanks! Lead on!