It was a quick answer to a tough question that I thought would elicit a longer response. This gem was provided by a mentor of mine; a man that had years of successful business experience and investments under his belt. It was his takeaway; his nugget of knowledge from all of the years of leading businesses and doing deals that had made him very prosperous.
As I began to chew on what he just said, I realized how much I loved the mantra. The health, industry, and potential scalability of a business were important when he invested in them, but without the right jockey leading the charge those things didn’t matter. This man bet on leaders.
Regardless if you are a CEO, company executive, first line manager, or aspiring leader, there is a valuable lesson in this. Aspire and work towards being that “can’t miss” jockey. Here are 5 ways you can become a better and more attractive leader better known to my mentor as a "jockey."
You have to constantly paint a picture of the future. A future that looks drastically different than your industry, organization, or team currently finds itself in today. Use new ideas and thinking to help support making this new vision a potential reality.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, or how much experience you have, consuming knowledge on an ongoing basis is a requirement. AT&T CEO and Chairman, Randall Stephenson made news this week by saying “People who don't spend 5 hours a week online learning will make themselves obsolete.” He argues that we all need to retool ourselves, and we shouldn’t expect this to stop. So, whether its podcasts, blogs, online courses, books, or traditional instructor-led training classes, you have to be consuming.
One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Mark Twain; “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Being a great "jockey" that stands out requires this mentality. Mostly because problems and issues are going to arise. The way you handle and respond to them will help you stand out.
There are a lot of ways to make this a reality, but the focus has to be on getting results. Any CEO can drive growth by buying competitors, or spending to build new products. It’s the leaders that get results by using less time and money that stand out. So much of leadership is about productivity. Putting yourself and team members in an environment to produce the best results is a core tenant of being an effective leader.
Out of the box, authentic thinking only comes through when you do it your own way. To stand out as a leader and “jockey” you can’t be someone you aren’t. Other people will see right through it and lose belief in you as their leader.
“Always bet on the jockey, not the horse.” It’s a simple, but a powerful idea, and I hope together, we won't be able to forget it. Begin today to become the best jockey and leader you can be.
John is the CEO of LearnLoft, author of, F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leader and host of the 'Follow My Lead' Podcast. He writes or has been featured on Inc.com, LinkedIn Pulse, TrainingIndustry.com, eLearningIndustry.com, CNBC Money, and more. John completed his education at the University of Maryland College.