By John Keyser for Common Sense Leadership
I just finished the book, All In, which is Billie Jean King’s autobiography. Wow! She has accomplished so much in her life – for women, for people of color, for the LGBTQ community, and numerous others. She surely, in the eyes of a great many, is helping form the world for the better.
While I wanted to read the book as I know a lot about Billie Jean, I was also struck by the title, All In.
I believe the title, All In, encapsulates the principles of helping to make things better and thinking like an owner. Whatever our position, we should always feel a responsibility to help our company be the best we can be. Being “all in” as Billie Jean is, has enabled her to accomplish so much.
There are important takeaways in All In. Two that I feel are especially relevant for all of us in business, including the nonprofit and religious worlds, are:
- Never stop learning, and
- Relationships are everything.
With regard to learning, let’s realize that we can learn from everyone!
- The best ideas are bottom up ideas.
- Want something improved? Ask the people doing that work.
- Ask questions.
- Listen, listen, then listen some more.
- Take notes.
- Thank people. Let them know they are appreciated and valued.
With regard to relationships, this is what leadership is – relationships. Relationships which inspire people, empowering them, helping them feel good about themselves, and helping them be successful. And we must realize that developing and maintaining these relationships are accomplished via conversations, ideally one-on-one conversations.
Too busy? Then change that. Nothing is more important than our colleagues!
“All in” dedication, helping to make things better, and thinking like an owner, having a personal interest as well as a professional interest in our company’s success – if we bring these principles and practices to our work, we’ll very likely have a successful, satisfying, and fulfilling career, and be admired and respected by our colleagues.
Whether we have a goal of being a top-level executive in business or rather having a satisfying career in which we know we did our best and feel fulfilled, we cannot be half-hearted in what we do.
There is a great lesson in Mother Theresa’s philosophy, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love”. While this is certainly true in life, it is very true in business as well.
Be “All In” in every aspect of our life – and success, love, joy, connection and meaning flow.