Alan, a project engineer for a large paving contractor in southern Oregon, told Session 8B of the Leadership Development Lab:
"Late last night, as I started to think about today's class, I had no idea what I would talk about. I had no example in mind, so knowing we were coming into the brainstorming session, I sat down at my kitchen table and did my own brainstorming.
As I did a conscious review of the past week in my little brainstorming session, I recalled a phone conversation I had with a subcontractor on the way home last week after our Turbo Leadership Lab session. He was having some labor compliance issues and was getting a little frustrated trying to resolve the problems. Finally, out of desperation, he said, 'Forget it. You guys can just keep my retention money. I've blown it with your firm anyway.' I just let him talk himself out, and didn't interrupt. When he rand down and was all through, I finally said, 'I don't believe you will just let this issue go because I know you and your reputation in the industry means too much to you to leave something like this just dangling. I know it does.' He jokingly said, 'You're really a prick for bringing that up, but you're right.' I didn't realize it when I did it; I was unconsciously using Leadership Principle #15 - I had appealed to his noble motives. We agreed to get the emailed list from the owner and address each of the specific issues so that we could finish the project on a high note and put the issues behind us to guarantee the success of the project and the continuing
long-term success of his firm.
The lesson I learned from this experience is that when I consciously work hard on mastering the use of new principles like using the 15 Leadership Principles, I begin to apply them without thought. It looks like I have gone from unconscious incompetence to conscious competence, and on to the most desirable state of all, unconscious competence. The action I call you to take is to continue to practice the 15 Leadership Principles, work on them continuously. Before you know it, you will be using them unconsciously. The benefit you will gain is a sense of accomplishment and a greater knowledge of the fundamental people skills required to maximize the performance of your team. You will always have the tools you need to bring out the best so results will exceed your highest expectations."
Alan, of course, is spot on. Now that his class is over, if he and you make a habit of sitting down at least once a week, preferably at the close of each day, to review your days' successes, wins, land losses to find the learning experiences, the LAB will never end. Be a cautious observer of your behavior. Where did I bring the best out? Where can I improve in my leadership practices?