How do you know what advice to pay attention to and what to ignore as you seek to improve how you lead your company? Don't let these three common myths distract you.
Focus on your strengths.
- If you hide your mistakes and flaws, you miss an opportunity to teach your teams.
- Amazon has a crucial leadership principle: Vocally Self Critical, which Jeff Bezos personally describes as “Leaders do not believe that their or their team’s body odor smells of perfume.” This encourages a culture of transparency, vulnerability, and honesty at Amazon. During my corporate career on Amazon Fashion’s leadership team, I witnessed this from Bezos himself and other executives who are actively encouraged to admit errors, unknowns, and flaws which leads to refreshing honest conversation and rapid acceleration of business results. Too many companies encourage and reward displays of boastful behavior that masks real issues being raised and solved.
Build a ginormous network.
- I have never met a leader who says, “I love networking in a room of complete strangers.” Just like customers at Amazon are told “other customers who bought that, buy this,” you need a similar set of recommendations for your network. A tiny targeted network needs to focus on your past experience and future desires. Too many leaders spend ridiculous amounts of time attending networking events without clear purpose or focus.
- Prior to attending an event, identify two or three of the board members or attendees you want to meet and set up time before hand to meet them. Then you won’t be talking to random strangers, but having targeted new conversations with purpose.
You can survive on four hours sleep a night.
- Sleep is the number one differentiator to leadership personal peak performance; it changes your outlook, focus, productivity, and happiness.
- Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. As any new parent will tell you, your body quickly adapts to functioning on less sleep, but there is a giant leap between functioning and peak performance. Try the ’7x2' sleep test, where for seven nights you add an additional two hours to your sleep every night and pay attention to how you feel before and afterwards. My clients are astounded by the results they see.
- Just because British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher famously survived on four hours sleep a night, doesn’t mean it is a sustainable recommended approach for top performing leaders. Studies show that driving while sleep deprived is as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. Do you want to be making decisions about your business and future in that state?
Practice transparency and honesty. Be intentional about who you spend your time with, and get good sleep. It sounds easy, but these leadership myths have led us away from these foundational truths. What action can you take this week to get yourself back on track?
Dedicated to growing your business,