By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to help you act more predictably. Reading time: 3:02
What if there was a GPS system inside your head that beeped whenever you veered off course in driving toward your goals?
There is. Leaders thrive on it.
It’s your personal GPS –your own Guidance Precision System–networked throughout your head, heart and soul and locked on to values and beliefs.
And yes it does scream out to you –RECALCULATING! RECALCULATING– when you are heading off track. That voice screams loudest when no one is looking.
The most effective leaders hear that voice loud and clear. In tune with who they are and what they believe, their personal GPS –Guidance Precision System—keeps them on the straight and narrow no matter how topsy-turvy their world becomes.
Their compass heading is firm, anchored deeply in values and oriented toward quality driven performance. On target. On budget. On time.
As Ted Koppel, the veteran television news pundit once observed that we all have an internal compass that keeps us pointed to truth north. “There’s harmony and inner peace to be found in following a moral compass that points in the same direction regardless of fashion or trend.”
Consider the farmer in Peru, Indiana who followed his compass—his GPS—his personal Guidance Precision System– faithfully. Lowell Elliott found $500,000 in cash on his farm in 1972 and returned to its rightful owners. At the time, the half million qualified for the Guinness Book of Records for the most money returned.
Abraham Lincoln followed his compass –his GPS– his personal Guidance Precision System–faithfully. He demonstrated his presidential timber even as a 24-year-old postmaster in New Salem, IL.
The post office closed and it was several years later before an agent from the postal service came to close the financial books on the post office.
Lincoln was then a struggling lawyer. The agent told Lincoln that $17 (or a third of his annual salary) was owed the post office. Lincoln nodded.
He walked over to an old trunk. He took out a yellowed cotton rag. He unraveled the string and spread the cloth on a table. There was the $17 — the equivalent of $10,000 for someone earning $30,000 in today’s dollars —untouched. Lincoln said, “I never use any man’s money but by own.”
And President Grover Cleveland followed his compass—his GPS–his personal Guidance Precision System–faithfully. In his first four-year term, President Cleveland issued 414 vetoes from 1886-1889— more than twice as many vetoes as all 21 previous presidents combined. (344 more than the 170 vetoes in his second term.)
The Democrat’s sense of personal integrity was so evident that newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer cited four reasons in endorsing the Cleveland presidential campaign:
1. He is an honest man.
2. He is an honest man.
3. He is an honest man.
4. He is an honest man.
With that kind of consistent performance, leaders know exactly where they are going. No wonder that voice in their heads seldom has to shrill the all too familiar GPS refrain: “Recalculating, Recalculating, Recalculating.”
Listen to your inner voice to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.
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