For me, the purpose of being in business is to take care of the ones you love. And that isn’t just your family. We must love and take care of the family’s of the people that spend every day giving their all for you and the business. If we have tunnel vision and are only looking out for our own greedy interests, we aren’t taking care of our team.
But there is one key to any leadership role that must occur for any leader to be maximally effective. Every leader is limited by the effectiveness of their marriage. Nothing will undermine the effectiveness of a leader more than a bad marriage. And so as we talk about taking care of those we love, it is both at home and at work.
At home, for a very powerful effective marriage, we have to be aligned. And alignment doesn’t occur until there is complete submission to each other, each person thinks about the other first rather than themselves and their desires, communication to each other about the other’s weaknesses is normal and healthy, 100% transparency across the board through vulnerable honesty on all aspects of our daily lives, failures, and finances, and an ironclad trust of honor to each other regardless of the temptation.
For Karen and I, our alignment took a while, and as most experience, that doesn’t occur on your wedding day regardless of the fairy tail unicorn and princess weddings held. The biggest reason for total alignment not occurring was the fact that the human brain doesn’t fully develop until a person is 22 or 23, and I was inverse of that, 32. And my own son can recite that to anyone if they ask! It took their father until the time of their birth to realize I needed to get my act together for not just my children, but more importantly for my wife and our marriage. And we have worked on that ever since with a trust that will not be broken.
But in the meantime, what I didn’t realize, is as the alignment in our marriage was occurring at home, the trajectory of my effectiveness as a leader begin to escalate at a rapid pace. And as a result, one of the key outcomes is the ability to take care of your people at our work intensifies and grows at the pace of corn in Kansas in June. You can virtually watch it grow.
I often get questions about business and leadership, and most generally at some point, I’ll mildly or casually ask something like, “What does your wife think?” (about that business or financial question) to begin to get the feel for someone’s marriage. No one likes to be questioned about something they may be having less success or failing at, but the discussion must be had to get to the root of any and all potential symptoms of a disease process. For all of us, myself included, we must make sure we are fully aligned at home before we have any sort of goal or obligation to lead others. Back in Dr. Nels version 1.0, I wasn’t fully aligned at home due to my immature brain. We had good success at work, but it wasn’t at the humbling, vulnerably honest, culture is right and is acted out way, ownership mentality, no drama or gossip, gracious servant level of compassionate care service and very high level of excellence I expected. Actually I expected it, but my lack of personal development was the biggest part of that roadblock to the AMC excellence I was wanting.
Alignment in a marriage is a wonderfully freeing experience for all marriages. There is a trust for any spouse to make any decision needed to be made on anything. There is recognition and peace of each other’s weaknesses and strengths, and work is done to improve on those together. There is a trust that both are 100% committed to the sanctity of the union and failure is not an option. And there is a trust that no one thing, being, obstacle, annoyance, disagreement, or challenging event will cause a misalignment. It may cause a short bumpy ride, but realignment will occur. We as leaders and I remind you, we are all leaders in various forms or capacity, must realize we have to be aligned at home before we can effectively lead anyone else. Happy Leadership Thursday!