How I Failed to Lead and What I’m Doing to Fix It

1024 683 David DeWolf

Earlier this week I wrote about my first experience in a “Mastermind”. Through the process I was able, with the help of trusted advisors, to really interrogate myself as a leader.

I found out that…I failed to lead. Here’s what I have discovered and what I’m doing to fix it.

Here is what I have discovered.

I failed to articulate a clear vision.

My writing has been too nebulous. I have failed to identify my purpose and articulate a clear vision for why I’m writing. My desire to leave the door open to discuss multiple topics has prevented me from inspiring action. I need to be more concrete and to hang everything I do off of a single purpose.

Leaders clearly articulate a vision and inspire action.

I failed to be authentic.

My fear of intertwining the reality of 3Pillar into my personal thoughts has led me to create an artificial boundary between the two components of my life. I attempted to articulate lessons I’ve learned without sharing the stories and details behind them. This has driven a wedge between what I say about living an integrated life and the reality of how I live it. This makes me difficult to relate to and difficult to follow.

Leaders are true to themselves and to their team.

I failed to live with humble confidence.

My fear of others’ perception eroded my confidence and prevented me from following through on what I believe. I have pulled back from my responsibilities as a leader. I have taken the easy way out.

In his book The Five Temptations of a CEO, Patrick Lencioni calls out the danger of choosing Harmony over Conflict. Nobody follows someone who lacks confidence in their own vision.

Leaders stand firm in the face of adversity; they are true to their purpose regardless of recourse.

Here is what I’ve resolved to change.

I will live with purpose.

My purpose is to be in the world, but not of the world.

My vocation is business. I am focused on being an exceptional leader, entrepreneur, and CEO. I want to be the best at what I do.

Human Excellence, I believe, is a virtue. This is not contrary to my faith, my family, or any other part of me. Instead, it is an integral part of who I am. It’s what makes me me.

I do not run a Christian Business. I run a secular business. But, as with all things in my life, I run my business and all my professional endeavors in a manner that is consistent with my value system. I am not influenced by the greed, power, and selfishness that protrude the world.

My desire is to share my struggles and triumphs in living this way with the world. I hope to inspire others to do the same. I believe we need more virtue in the workplace. I believe the world would be a better place and leaders would be more impactful if we reintroduced God and family into our professional lives.

I will be focused on a singular value proposition.

I help
(1) entrepreneurial leaders
(2) live an integrated life so that they can
(3)achieve professional success without sabotaging their lives.

I have scrutinized my tribe and simplified my value proposition. I am committed to clarity and will ensure that everything I produce is aligned to this value proposition.

There are three core components of this value proposition. Each is equally important. I will start with the end in mind (a fancy way of saying, “Please allow me to go backwards in my logic”).

Why: I believe that ultimate success is not driven simply from professional accolades or monetary gain. Ultimate success is about living to one’s full potential.

I am passionate about helping others be the best they can be in all aspects of their lives. I don’t believe you can be successful in business if you have abandoned your family. I don’t believe that you can be successful in your faith life if you don’t leverage the gifts and talents you’ve been given in business to their fullest potential.

How: To live to our full potential and succeed in all aspects of our lives, we must integrate our lives. I believe that in order to maximize our success in one area of our life, we must allow the other areas to inform our decisions.

I don’t believe that you can create a battle between your “work” and your “life” and be successful in either, never mind both. I don’t believe that you can separate your faith from your work and still be successful. Your faith must inform your work and your work must enhance your faith.

Who: My tribe consists of entrepreneurial leaders. The word entrepreneur comes from the French word meaning “to do more.” Entrepreneurs go beyond the status quo. They drive change. They do more with less. They make a difference.

I think my message resonates best with those who are seeking to do more. They are driven. They are passionate. They take action. They struggle to ensure that they are not overcommitted. These individuals are fighting the good fight and putting everything on the line in order to be the best they can be. They take seriously their mission to leverage their gifts and talents to their greatest potential.

I have developed a framework.

In order to to help others understand how to live the integrated life, I have developed a framework that they can use to work towards integration. I will leverage this framework in order to simplify my solution. Through it I will be able to articulate more succinctly not only that they should integrate their lives, but also how they can integrate their lives.

Stay tuned for the framework.

I will use real-life examples.

I am recommitting myself to share my real-life experiences. Stories and examples make lessons come alive. From what I can tell, nobody around here is looking for theory. You’re looking for practical, pragmatic advice that you can put into action.

While I won’t hesitate to change the names to protect the innocent and am sensitive to the impact that words can have, I plan to be more transparent, more vulnerable, and more descriptive. My goal is to give you a peek inside my struggles. Just like I’ve had the opportunity to learn from so many great leaders who have been willing to share their time with me, I want to afford others the opportunity to learn from my experiences as well.

I will be bold in pursuing a different approach.

Several months ago I made a deliberate decision to invest in taking my online presence to the next level. I did this for multiple reasons, but one important reason was to benefit 3Pillar. I remain confident that by sharing my personal experiences and lessons learned, I will drive significant value and exposure to the company.

I am recommitting myself to this strategy. I am determined to be bolder in pursuing it and to be explicit in my decision to build a community that will benefit 3Pillar.

Do you take time to interrogate your own leadership?

Do you open yourself up to critique, and are you open to receiving feedback? If not, you may not be living up to your potential as a leader. Be willing to admit failure. Resolve to go deep and look at fundamental issues. What tools and resources do you use to open your eyes to areas you have failed to meet expectations?