This week, we read The Secret by Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller before attending a seminar at Chick-Fil-A cooperate on February 28th. Dressed in sharp business casual, students were expecting to learn some serious business about leadership. We were all surprised when our teacher, Mark Conklin stated class by putting on music and dancing.
Conklin is the Director of Leadership Development at Chick-Fil-A Corporate. He’s in charge of helping new ideas make it through the Hatch and out onto the street. A big part of his job is helping teams work well together to achieve a shared goal. Conklin shared with us some tips to making that happen, many of them applicable to life now before college, the workforce, or that first business meeting. Here are three other practical leadership life hacks.
1. Be willing to talk less, listen more
The first letter of the SERVE model stands for “See and Shape the Future.” This requires collecting ideas and feedback. At CFA Corporate we learned how an idea is developed from beginning to end. It’s a process that requires experimentation, collaboration, and active listening. Seeing and shaping the future might sound lofty and grand, but it actually requires humbly listening to others and being open to new ideas.
2. Have fun
The V of the SERVE model stands for valuing results and relationships. Starting a meeting with a dance party might seem a little far-fetched, but it’s a reminder that the people on our team are just that people. Collaboration is not just about getting things done in a certain amount of time; it’s also about creating shared experiences and moments that can leave the people around you feel seen, valued, and appreciated.
3. Be willing to admit when you’ve failed and ready to try something new
The R on the Serve model stands for “reinvent continuously.” Reinvention requires being flexible with your idea. You’ll get farther ahead than most leaders if you are willing to admit when your idea has failed. Better yet, if you can show an openness to new ideas and an eagerness to try again, you’ll keep your team moving forward without losing momentum. This can apply to everything from leading a team to managing your own daily schedule.
Bonus: Here’s a fourth life-hack that might come as a bit of a surprise…
4. Leadership is about serving.
During the course of his professional journey, Conklin has done all sorts of things. Some of them are big, like guiding a new idea through the Hatch. Others are small, like picking up trash when no one was looking. In our culture, we might think that leadership has to do with “being the boss,” being large and in charge, telling others what to do, and having the best ideas. Servant leadership is different. It’s about valuing other people, practicing humility, and fostering collaboration towards a clearly-defined shared goal.
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