Good morning and happy Monday!
This past week as many of you know I went to a Mayan home visit where my Family and I learned the value of chocolate to the ancient Mayan civilizations and the value it now has today, all this while having fun preparing our own concoctions for consumption. During this day I learned a lot about leadership from three men. The First Bruno Kuppinger a dear friend and tour operator who was scheduled to take us on our tour along with his trusty side kick Jose Mes and last but definitely not least Eladio Pop, a Mayan Chocolate farmer from San Pedro Columbia whose family of 20+ hosted us and gave us our lesson in the” food of the Gods”. The leadership insights, lessons, principles and gems that I learned or were reinforced that day can benefit your leadership, team and organization. Bruno had a family emergency but made sure our plans would continue.
In this spirit here are 9 Championship lessons.
- Think Big – Bruno said, “We didn’t want to create a tour program that’s like some of the other great programs in the region, my vision is to create a program where they want to be like us.” I have been on many chocolate tours in the Caribbean and I will admit that this was my most meaningful ever with a full historical and cultural immersion. I encourage you to try it one day with your children.
- Success Takes Time – Yes, all that I saw this week was built over time. I first visited the Pop home ten years ago and the growth is immense. The last time we sat on pigtail buckets eating our lunch, this time we sat in his expanded living room on beautiful wooden furniture handcrafted by Bruno and his team. It didn’t happen overnight, Eladio and his family worked hard and diligently to get to this point. Your success may take time too. Believe. Trust. Work. Improve. Grow.
- Don’t Stop Believing – With every setback, failure and loss over the years, none of these men ever gave up. “God doesn’t say oops. God doesn’t make mistakes. There’s a bigger plan.” His guiding encouragement over the challenging years was Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Eladio calls himself an over believer. He grew up in an alcoholic home and knew example and guidance would never be found there. He started his own life at 13 knowing he had to be the author of his own life. He never stopped believing and he kept sharing his belief with his family and they are now reaping a harvest. He speaks in a simple tongue more eloquently about leadership, values and behaviours than some of the speakers at Leadercast. I hope to bring him this year to speak to you on May 4th, 2018.
- Look Inside, Not Outside – Bruno continuously reminds his employees to look inside into their heart, soul, spirit and passion instead of worrying about what the other tour guides and furniture makers are doing. He believes the customer is the focus at all times and not what the outside world thinks. He said, “I’ve told my team to let the light inside them always be brighter than the light that’s shining on them.”
- Love Wins – three different men playing on one team offering different components of an amazing tour. Their love for each other is what makes the difference. They are a great example that love wins in the end. Maybe not today but eventually love wins. The challenge is most don’t have the patience, values or faith to commit to the process that love requires. Too many abandon people and situations when things get hard. They don’t stick to it, so they don’t get to see love ultimately win. The three of them sat in the rain reminiscing with us into the evening giving guidance, friendship and hope for a great New Year!
- Love and Accountability are the Keys – All great leaders provide a lot of love and a lot of accountability. Bruno demands excellence in his woodworking and tour operations. He is German after all so it’s all about the process too. He loves you and because of that he’s also going to make you better. He’s also going to hold you accountable to the team and the high standards and values of the culture he tries to build. He is intolerant of mediocrity. If you have love without accountability, you’ll be a loving family but not a great team. Accountability without love leads to disengagement, burn-out and dysfunction. You need both love and accountability to be a great leader, family and team. He made sure he questioned us on the quality of the tour that Jose provided even though it was a gift. Question your teams, set standards, enforce consequences and implement rewards.
- Live and Reinforce Your Values – I learned this message from Jose who was a BDF soldier. He mentioned as a soldier he would often come home late after a week of duty, broke after drinking and hanging out with his buddies. Until one day his wife sat him down and asked, “do you love me and your children? If yes, quit your job, and your drinking and become an example to those you love.” Jose made the right decision. “If you don’t live and reinforce your values then what does that say to your children, your staff, and the people who are out their seeking leadership in regular people every day. If we are going to win we will win the right way. Your behaviour must be consistent on the street, at home at the office and in the bar. Always holding yourself with respect. Be a champion of life.
- Build a Great Team – No one creates success alone. We all need a great team around us. Recruit great talent. Develop them. Attract the best from the outside. Develop your best on the inside. Develop yourself. Make your New Year’s decision now. What will you stand for and do to commit to you and your success in 2018. Share with me.
- It’s Not about the Trophy and seeing your name in lights -Tell the people in your life. how proud you are of them. Bruno told me I did great for conquering the cave. This was great encouragement. Even though I was bone tired, I am now willing to try another adventure as I cannot become limited by my success. I need to stretch myself to climb higher and achieve more. Every new accomplishment won’t be the best thing to happen in your lives. There is even more in store for you. The best is yet to come. Encourage yourself and others.
Trophies will not define us ever. We will be defined by our culture and how we invest in our young people and how we respect our aged and ourselves. Live a life where you love, serve and care. I encourage you to lead this year, but remember to appreciate and enjoy the journey.
Enjoy your week.