What Derails Most Leaders Careers?

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Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a Truth@Work webinar with Donnie Smith, CEO, Tyson Foods. Let me simply say, WOW!   In today’s culture, it’s sometime difficult to discern wise counsel when it comes to leadership.   There is an abundance of information and people claiming to have “best practices”, however, do they truly have “fruit on the tree”? So, when you get an opportunity to listen to someone like Donnie Smith, it is truly impactful.

Given this and as a testament to Donnie’s humility, he began the presentation by acknowledging right up front that he’s just another man and there is nothing special about him.  With his southern accent, he says, “Donnie Smith is just eat up with normal. There is nothing special about me, but there is something special about the Lord I serve.”

Much of the context of the webinar was about how Tyson Foods has created a “faith-friendly” culture. If this is of interest to you, I am more than willing to share more on this topic with our partnership with Truth@Work. However, today, I want to focus in on a couple of key points Donnie made that stood out to me.

First, Donnie stressed the importance of truly spending time on your company’s core values, purpose, mission, and culture. Many organizations have taken time to put these things on paper, however, do they truly believe them and “walk the talk”? Clearly, the evidence supports that Tyson Foods is intentional about their core values, purpose, mission, and culture. For your benefit, here is a link to Tyson’s Core Values page on their website.

Another thing that truly struck me was Donnie’s response to a question asking, “What have you seen derail most leaders careers?” Without hesitation, Donnie responded, “Whatever is the opposite of Servant Leadership.” Elaborating a bit further Donnie shared a conversation with one of his executive not too long ago. He said, and I’ll paraphrase, “You know what your problem is? You are too focused on that office or position that you want next. If you would simply focus on serving your people, that position will come.”

While this sounds so simple, it speaks volumes! I can relate to numerous examples where I have seen leaders get too focused on that next step in their careers that they lose track of how they arrived at where they are. Yes, some have bullied their way to where they are, however, most have served their people if they are at any level of influence within a prospering organization.

If you have interest in viewing this webinar with Donnie Smith, simply click here. Truth@Work has a monthly webinar series which we’d love to add you to the distribution list. Please recognize that Truth@Work is a Kingdom focused organization thus this will be the context of the content being delivered.

At Arnold, we are “Equipping Leaders for Life” all across the world using the principles of servant leadership. If you would like to learn more about our “High Performance Coaching” process, click here and/or contact us to set up an appointment. We find great joy in serving our clients and would love to build a relationship with you and your team!

Have a fantastic day!

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