Show Up Scrappy

There are aspects of leadership where you are leading, practically, because you are the loudest voice in a group and everyone else has either decided to (or are forced to) listen to you.  People will listen to the loudest voice in a room but they tend to follow the most confident voice. Being louder and more confident will set you apart from most people.  

A defining trait of a leader is literally being in where you should be - another way to say this is "showing up."  Showing up looks like...being early/on-time and being "present" in conversations. This is a fundamental part of leadership. A leader is present physically and emotionally...and taking it one step more,  they make decisions.  If there is a group of 5 people and only one person speaks up about what they think is the best plan of attack – they are by default showing leadership characteristics.  It may not be the best plan, but it is currently the only plan.

Leaders call others over to a focus on a task, show people how to do something, encourage them towards a goal, or just listen to problems in order to find a solution.  Leaders are not always the most organized person in a group or even the person who knows how to do “the thing” (whatever it is that you do as an organization) the best.  The biggest names in business in the first 20 years of the 2000’s – Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, etc. were not all the best in their field.  They had vision, knowledge, and skill – for sure, but they didn’t have to be the best or the smartest. They "showed up" and decided to move purposefully in a specific direction, and just kept pushing. 

Succeeding in business is not simply about coming up with a good idea or product – it’s about making it happen (implementation, delivery, and reproduction of your product/idea).  Even if one of these leaders took someone else’s idea – the other person didn’t show up to the fight.  The other person didn't destroy the competition in the end.  These leaders did.  It’s not always the inventor who gets rich – it’s often times the innovator who does - the person who makes it happen or makes it work in the real world.  

Jeff Bezos didn’t invent online shopping - he took some risks that other people didn't understand and implemented a very specific vision (approach to online delivery of products).  He took online shopping, perfected it, and put whole industries out of business!  He did it by showing up even after he found success.  Great leaders don’t have to be the best or smartest; they make sure they are heard amongst all the voices in the market, they create an innovative 'product', they keep moving and leading the way, and then they seek to hire the best and the smartest to stay on top. 

To stay on top, successful leaders are often at least a little “scrappy”.  Like, if their business was a street fight, they might not be the dude who knows kung-fu and has big muscles - they just might be the one who always gets back up in a fight (like Rocky), the one who gets a little crazy when all seems lost, and they also might be the one who...brings a lead pipe (scrappy).  Fights over folks!  A great leader is resourceful and uses whatever they have to stay competitive (instead of lead pipes, maybe it's leveraging relationships, jumping on an opportunity first, or taking a chance and investing in a new idea that others don't see).  

Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, once famously said that he doesn’t like to hire smart people to tell them what to do, instead, he likes to hire people who are smarter than him and then ask them what to do. How did Steve Jobs stay on top?  He found those who were great and had them join his team (scrappy).  Contrary to what it may have seemed like, Steve Jobs was not “Apple” himself – he led Apple.  There is a big difference.  Steve took computers and made them sexy and personal.  He got everyone's attention and he had something to say.  He didn't always succeed but he kept pushing and he was resourceful until others could see his vision. He showed up and kept showing up and did what he had to do in order to stay on top.  

Again, leaders are not always the smartest person in a room – but they find ways to outsmart others (scrappy).  Leadership is simply a skill, not a superpower. Anyone can lead if they make themselves heard (loud and confident). You need to hone your direction and show up everyday ready to fight.

Stay scrappy and keep going, my friends!


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