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Alignment Culture Leadership Self awareness Team effectiveness

Love what you do

Love what you do or do what you love? That’s the question. What ever your answer, it’s always about passion for your job.

There are eleven thousand business books written on an annual basis. That’s about thirty books per day. So, if you decide to write a business book to get rich and famous, you must be absolutely one hundred percent sure of what you’re doing and how to write that best seller.

Some people succeed. Most don’t. I know people who have written business books. I’ve had realistic conversations with them about the process of writing a book and about expectations. I know it’s tough to get noticed and recognized amongst those many authors. I also know that a small percentage of revenues goes to the author for every book sold.

These are all reasons you need to think twice about your dream of writing a business book. Like many things in life, you must have a clear purpose and vision to chase your dreams.

I’m writing this book because I have a story to tell. A deeply personal story about my experiences, lessons, mistakes and successes, and beliefs on how to design and build a growing and sustainable culture where people love to come to work and where customers always return because they know they get the best experience.

Love what you do

I’m also writing this book because I love the process of writing. It’s one of the things I love to do. Writing helps me to inspire, form, and structure my thoughts. It’s my way of giving meaning to my curiosity and creativity. I’m doing it primarily for myself, but several people have told me sharing my vision is worthwhile. So here it is. In this book.

This book is a business book. It’s about growing a successful business. I leave the definition of success up to you. It may be about growth. It may be about profit. It may be about being the best possible employer. It may be about building the best customer experience. It may be about making a lasting difference in the world. It may be about fulfillment. Whatever it is, my principles apply.

Search for Alignment

One core principle of the book is the search for alignment. Without alignment, the chances of success are smaller. A symphony orchestra will never deliver a great concert if not perfectly aligned. A football team will never be lastingly successful if not aligned. A team of surgeons and their assistants will only operate successfully when each person in the room is one hundred percent aware of their role and responsibilities.

Everyone understands the consequences when the above examples of the orchestra, football team, and surgeons are not doing what they’re supposed to do in concert, i.e., perfect alignment. And yet, in the business world, only some companies invest in the proper alignment of their culture, their teams, and their leaders.

“We don’t have time for that” is a sentence I’ve often heard on my journey to helping leaders and teams grow. Investing time in alignment costs time. Music bands, orchestras, football teams, and surgeons spent hours and hours on education and practice. That time is often unavailable in business because teams are in continuous execution and delivery mode. It makes sense. But it also makes sense to consider that the payoff can be immense when time does get invested in alignment. That’s the case I will be making.

Four blocks in 52 weeks

This book contains four blocks. In the spirit of my 52-week journey, each block will be discussed during one quarter. Each block builds on the previous block and ultimately leads to a culture where (1) leaders are admired for who they are and how they lead, (2) teams are genuinely aligned and constantly performing at a high level, (3) people love to come to work and are intrinsically motivated, (4) customers are loyal and inspire other potential customers to use the products and services of the company as well. 

The four blocks are the following: 

1. Understanding Self
2. Becoming an Admired Leader
3. Creating a Winning Team
4. Delivering with Culture

Understanding Self

Self-awareness is the foundation of every successful human being and leader. Unfortunately, many people and leaders are not self-aware. They’re often operating based on the subjective input of one person, themselves. 

Many people have never given their purpose and values serious consideration. And if they did, they’re often not behaving in line with what they publicly state as their values. Many people have never received proper insights into their blind spots. 

How can people be effective when unaware of their purpose, values, and blind spots? How can they be effective leaders if they would desire to be one?

Becoming an Admired Leader

Yes, some people are born natural leaders. But most people become leaders by intentionally growing themselves into leaders. Few leaders are truly great. Leadership is about learning and teaching. You learn how to be a good leader and teach others to become good leaders. And you do so with a healthy dose of curiosity and humility, two superpowers of great leaders.

Great leaders are self-aware. They use every opportunity to solicit candid feedback to learn and grow. They know what they stand for, they know their blind spots, they know how to engage and inspire teams, they know how to listen, ask great questions, and they communicate well. They understand the context in which they operate and always have a focus on action. They bring empathy to the table, and they genuinely care. Those are the leaders we want to work for.

Creating a Winning Team

Great leaders surround themselves with even better potential leaders. A players hire A players. B players hire C players. When you invest time in building a great team, don’t compromise and say no to shortcuts; half of your work is done. 

The rest of creating a winning team is focused on building trust and alignment on direction, goals, and execution. When trust and alignment are present, the energy goes through the roof, and teams will win. Without trust and alignment, there’s no chance of winning in the long term. Yes, hierarchy may lead to short-term results, but it’s not sustainable over a more extended period of time.

Delivering with Culture

“Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast” is a famous quote by management guru Peter Drucker, and he’s right. When the culture is not right, no strategy will survive the confrontation with reality over the longer term. Why? Because leaders are not doing their job. People are not inspired and engaged; consequently, customers will not want to buy their products or services.

Great leaders are intentional about culture. They invest time in deliberately designing a culture that delivers. They know how to connect the dots between the purpose of the company and the purpose of each person working inside the company. They know that culture ultimately boils down to behavior. Behavior that is in line with the strategy, the values, and the operating model of the company.

A successful business invests in self-awareness, intentionally grows leaders, creates winning teams, and delivers with culture. That’s what my book is about.

Your turn: What do you love to do? Are you doing that right now?

Erikjan

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Erikjan Lantink
Business & Leadership Coach

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