How should you lead yourself and your organization in this global down economy? Better yet, how should you lead in ANY ecomomy? Even more importantly in economic terms, how should you lead your revenue generating activities to help your organization grow and remain a sustainable and prosperous entity?

Answer: Use corn not bullets!

If we listen to the media, things are apparently tough out there.

If we listen to most other business people, things are apparently tough out there.

If you listen to your friends and family, things are apparently tough out there.

Really?! Then why is it that you can read the Financial Times and watch CNN and read and see reports on businesses that are booming? Sure they may be an counter-cyclical market like infrastructure and be funded by government programs. Then again there are businesses who are even bucking that trend.

Most people would agree that a New Order is is required for the way business goes about things. For the past 10 or so years there has been unprecedented growth in many markets. What has happened is a resetting of the baseline (and it is not finished yet).  A new foundation level must be created to prepare for the next period of growth which, by the way, will happen. It always does. But are you taking the right approach to prepare for it?

A Brave New World

The smart organizations see what is happening as a time of evolution where patience, prudence and wisdom are required with a healthy mix of boldness. They see the market as a boon and are prepared to take advantage of the market situation and the adversity that is hitting their competitors. Now is their time to gain marketshare and exploit the misfortunes of their not-so-bright competition.They have entered the vista of Corn Leadership

The not-so-bright organizations see only problems such as scarcity, tough times, greater competition. Why? They are afraid. They are unprepared, they are panicking and they are stuck in the old paradigm of Bullet Leadership.

What the difference? It is all a matter of perceptions and perspective. Both forms of leadership can best be explained by the behavior of a herd of deer in relation to bullets versus corn.

Stop Firing

Traditional approaches to sales leadership involve “hunting strategies” like cold-calling, mass-mailing, bold-calling and even some networking to name a few.  You will often hear such leaders use the terms, “we are seeking new business” or “we are busy chasing leads” or “we are hunting down new prospects”.

All fairly aggressive terms. All typical of mankind’s wiring from our early days of having to hunt for our food.

So. Think of a herd of deer. Quietly grazing in a sunlit forest glade. Then all of al sudden, “BLAM!”. A rifle shot is herd. Alas! One poor deer is felled. The rest of the herd scatters. Nowhere to be seen. No second shot. Gone.

The hunter, who had spent all night in the cold tracking, waiting and shivering, may have cause to celebrate his or her short-term victory, but the “kill” may only provide food for a week or a month. Then the hunter has to do it all again. The cycle continues with ongoing risk of their being no deer or the season runs out. Time, energy and resources are constantly being stretched all for short-term gains. Highly inefficient in the medium and long-term.

Bullet leaders are selfish. They think predominantly of themselves first and, perhaps, only. They are takers. They operate from a place of scarcity.

Where is the big picture thinking?

Start Sowing

Corn leadership uses “corn strategies” such as referral marketing, networking with a pay it forward approach, contradeals and cocktail or themed soirees to name a few. Corn leaders understand, especially in today’s economy, the importance of thinking as a deer first.

Unlike a hunter who thinks of his or her needs, a corn leader or sower thinks of the deer’s needs.

Deer need to eat. So they go into the forest and start sowing corn in the areas where there is evidence that deer live.  Initially they sow leaving corn strategically for the deer. Then they distance themselves and observe the behaviour of the herd. First one or two deer appear and tentatively sniff and then eat the corn. Then others begin to follow. Soon the whole herd emerges.

By repeating this pattern eventually a time comes to begin to lay a trail of corn. By this time the deer are calm, less wary and more trusting. The herd follows the trail. With patience and the right supply of corn eventually the deer will come and feed from the sower’s hand and the sower can lead the herd into a coral where they can be properly cared for and farmed.

No bullets required – the way of the warrior. Just corn – the way of the farmer.

Corn leaders are selfless. They think predominantly of others first – their clients, their team and beyond. They are givers. They understand “give and you shall receive”. They operate from a place of abundance and understand the law of attraction.

Truth Be Told

Which has been your preference? Bullet leadership or Corn leadership? Which type of leader does your market, your business and your people require today and in the future? What changes are you prepared to make to move beyond survival to thriving?

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Dr Richard Norris MBA is Head of Global Development Lifestyle Architecture
He speaks, helps clients with executive & business coaching and leadership
Email | Linkedin | Twitter | Web | Skype: richardthemanofaction | +44 1738 827813

Image Source: treehugger.com, ecoworld.org, rainierballistics.com,
thekingpin.net, sciencedaily.com

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