I am inspired by excellence and intentional leadership. From a young age I remember being enthralled with Disney World. Not just because Disney is the self-proclaimed happiest place on earth, or because of great rides like Space Mountain or It’s a Small World. I was captivated by their attention to detail. A few years later, still young & captivated by Disney, I watched a documentary about Disney and they highlighted light bulbs, yes lights bulbs. Back then every light bulb at Disney was dated so that a few days prior to expiring the maintenance group would change them before flickering, going dim or dark.
Later in life I became introduced to another excellent organization - Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Our first trip to Mayo was the result of a personal auto accident and included an eight-hour drive, followed by multiple tests and meetings with physicians. However, after a few days filled with medical appointments, I said to my wife, “this place is like the Disney World of medicine – everything they do is intentional and with purpose.”
Later I was to discover one of the primary buildings on the Mayo Clinic campus in Minnesota was originally constructed in 1955 and stood 10 stories tall. It’s appropriately called the Mayo Building. Today the building stands 18 stories tall and houses a number of physician offices and clinics. But, the thing I find fascinating is when the team at Mayo Clinic built the original building, they purchased enough marble for the outside of the structure for all 18 floors, even though the original building was only 10 stories. That doesn’t seem like a lot of attention to detail, ordering 8 extra stories of marble slabs, until you later learn that they laid all extra marble in a nearby field so that it could weather at the same rate as the marble on the lower 10 floors. Now that’s attention to detail!
What does all of this have to do with leadership? I believe there is a lot to be said about being intentional in our leadership. So often we move into auto-pilot and lose our attention to detail, and lose sight of our intentions in leadership. I also like excellence – not perfection, but excellence. I enjoy working with leaders who strive for excellence. So how do we break ourselves from bad habits? How do we make sure we are intentional with our physical bodies to make sure they don’t burn out?
I would encourage you to pause today and give some thought, maybe even write down, what it is you want to be intentional about in your leadership. What ways are you burning out? What do you need to do to be intentional about the next eight years of your leadership and its effectiveness?
I’m confident in your ability to lead, but we must pay attention to the details. And, sometimes we simply need to pause briefly and reflect in order to pursue excellence and greater intention.