August 26, 2009 Chris Fuller

Essentials: Being the Real Deal

The Real Deal, Authenticity, setting the standard – whatever the phrase you chose to use – the team will never run beyond your example (unless they are running away!)

As leaders, if we could hear our team – they would say, “Be the real deal”. There are so many in this world that are more pretense than present tense… In other words they just aren’t real.

I believe with all that is in me that the leader should be the one that set the example – the one that pays more than others pay and gives more than others give – after all – isn’t that ‘leading the way’?

I LOVE the fact that at times the mushers in the race will jump off the sled and run beside it with the team – to me it speaks about commitment – Leaders must set the example when it comes to commitment and paying the price..

What do we do when it’s cold and rainy and we don’t want to train? We get up, get out, and train anyway! When we don’t ‘feel’ like paying the price? We pay it anyway!

I just don’t know that I could take knowing that my team had a greater commitment level to the cause and a greater work ethic than myself.

My heart is that leadership sets the standard to the point where it goes beyond the status quo – to the point of actually “inspiring” the team to deepen their commitment, deepen their resolve, and creates that incredible culture of ‘fanatics’.

‘Enthusiasm breeds Enthusiasm’ is one of my favorite ‘isms’. It breathes the ‘fire’ and then continuously ‘fans the flames’ – not in any sense of unfounded ‘hype’ – but in the uncompromising belief in the cause. A love for the race, and the commitment to pay the price – each and every day – that makes attaining the ‘Burled Arch’ a reality – and in doing so creates a tremendous sense of pride and purpose within the team. Call me an idealist if you will…. But if we are not bought in and ‘sold out’ to our cause or mission or race – how would we ever expect anything of greatness out of our team?

Seeing the commitment, tenacity, and determination of a Lance Mackey, Lance Armstrong, Martin Luther King, Ghandi, Mother Theresa –serves to inspire the rest of us – to challenge the rest of us to shake off the tendencies to accept the mediocre and to reach for greatness. People are people and if they can set the example – then we can set the example – think of the ‘tracks on the trail’ that we will leave for others to follow. This is our ‘Leadership Legacy’ – our Leadership ‘footprint’.

This week – if you feel like slacking up a bit – if it feels like things are crushing in on you – or the storms are hitting your trail – push on! In fact, pick up the pace, just a bit! Throw off the hooks that would seek to drag down or dampen your enthusiasm or resolve.

Leaders are charged with carrying the ingredients for fire on the trail. Where’s your fire, today? This morning, to set the resolve for my team to complete a project, I was up and at it before 4 am. When I consult in the hurricane operation – there are few team members that will keep up with the pace that I set for myself. And for those of you that have worked with me and think the pace runs strong – my brother puts me to shame! His work ethic is always pushing me – inspiring me – stretching me in my mind to reach for another level.

The race is worth it – pour your heart and back into it! Set the example – If we are going to be in the race – let’s always be real and let’s be in it to win it!

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