Ridiculous in business

Imagine you needed surgery and asked the surgeon who was going to operate on you, "Have you ever done this surgery before?" and he or she said,

I haven't done it before, by I'm aware of the procedure.

Imagine you were going to hire a new COO, asked his or her operational experience, and he or she said,

I haven't worked in operations, but my awareness is high.

Would you hire a plumber who never held a wrench but read about them and was aware of what they were for? A programmer who only read about programming?

These questions sound ridiculous because in business no one considers awareness alone remotely comparable to experience. You'd consider someone who tried to pass awareness as worth hiring as naive at best--more likely, a charlatan or clown.

Why is it acceptable in the environment?

Hosting the Leadership and the Environment podcast, I talk to a lot of people about the environment and their behavior relevant to it.

A remarkable number of them--people who say they value environmental action--openly share how they consider themselves leaders while in the same breath saying they haven't actually changed behavior conflicting with their values, but they're aware.

Most of them.

Effectively all, including business people who would consider any job applicant a clown for pretending that awareness alone held a candle to experience.

A growth opportunity

If you

  • Consider yourself a leader or aspire to lead
  • Care about environmental action or how you affect others
  • Haven't meaningfully acted on the environment (I wouldn't call recycling a few bottles meaningful)

this is your chance to develop your leadership.

You can act on a value of yours that you haven't. Nothing teaches you values, servant leadership, decision-making, and many other parts of leadership than acting on your values against resistance.

Your internal resistance--generally in the form of comfort and convenience--may be your greatest challenge.

That's good news if you want to develop!

Why? Because it gives you the chance to practice skills that apply everywhere in leadership

. . . at no cost

. . . in an area billions value

You have nothing to lose and much to gain.

What Vince Lombardi said about winning applies to leadership:

It's not a sometimes thing. It's an all-the-time thing.

In other words, acting on your values is integrity, what ties all other parts of leadership together.