When you talk with John Mariotti about business leadership the best thing you can do is listen. His years of experience and his understanding of business is invaluable and timeless. John, thank you for sharing your business wisdom. -Howard-
The name Tim Tebow is on the top of every sport fanatic’s tongue these days. Most consider Tim to be an inspirational leader. A few consider his religious beliefs to be a negative, but those are in the minority. The question always posed is, “How could Denver have become so much better with Tebow as quarterback, leading the team?” Conversely, the Indianapolis Colts had a terrible NFL season, and the most glaring change in the team was the absence of long time quarterback and leader Peyton Manning.
Could these individuals make that much difference? For that matter, can any one person, “a single individual” make such big differences? My answer to this question is a resounding, “YES!” But the reason is not what you might think. It is not merely what that person does that makes the difference. It is the belief, the confidence and the attitude that the person brings. It’s all about the “the power of what’s possible.”
Could the Denver Broncos really make those miraculous fourth quarter comebacks after playing three lackluster quarters? Sure they could and they did because “the power of what’s possible” elevated their play to another level. The team made the playoffs and just beat a more talented Pittsburgh Steeler team that was favored by more than a touchdown.
Could Peyton Manning alone account for the difference between the playoff teams of the Colts and this year’s bottom dweller? No, probably not. But those prior teams knew that if they could get the ball in Peyton’s hands with a minute or two left and less than a touchdown or a field goal behind, they still had a chance to win. Often they did just that “march down the field in less than two minutes for the winning score” because they believed they could.
I remember a discussion I had with one of my executives after I left Huffy Bicycles, in which he cited a dilemma and told me that I’d have known what to do. I told him that I wouldn’t have, but that together WE would have figured it out. “That’s right!” He exclaimed. “We’d have been confident that WE could figure out what to do.”
Steve Jobs brought this to Apple. Sam Walton brought it during his tenure at Walmart. Sam called it “getting ordinary people to do extraordinary things.” Great leaders like these two men, and athletes like Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning are not superhuman. They do, however, exhibit one characteristic of a leader that is hugely important. Their kind of leader instills in the team the belief that working together, anything is possible and then they go make that belief come true.
I once asked Robert Galvin Sr. of Motorola what distinguishes a leader. I have never forgotten his answer. “A leader will take people places they would be afraid to go alone.” When I asked him “what else?” He added, “And he goes along with them.” The greatest power of a leader is to instill in his/her people the belief in the “power of what’s possible”, and the will to make it happen. This is what separates the winners from the losers.
This guest blog post was written by: John Mariotti is an internationally known business executive and an award-winning author.