American literary giant Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “A great man is always willing to be little.” I couldn’t agree more with Emerson’s simple and focused assertion that the application of a humble attitude is both a necessary and foundational character trait for those who are charged with leading others.
No matter the unique system in which we find ourselves operating – family, business or social – humbleness is a vital quality.
I am willing to bet that you agree with the following statement: working for a humble leader is infinitely more fulfilling and enjoyable than working for a leader whose ego takes center stage at all times.
When we experience the latter, it doesn’t take long to realize the ulterior motives of an ego-driven leader.
Here, it seems that all decisions can ultimately be traced back to the eventual glorification of the leader and his/her personal agenda. There is no consideration for the good of the whole and very seldom do team members receive the credit they deserve for the contributions they make.
This type of atmosphere breeds frustration and anxiety, which quickly become the pervading sentiments of most employees, and turnover, malaise and discontent are common features of the organization’s workforce.
For these reasons and more, leaders (at least the good ones) are understandably weary of any action or decision that smells of ego. Terrible experiences with past leaders who were ego-driven are deeply seared into their minds.
An unfortunate side effect of this ego-protection mechanism is that we (as leaders) become slow to point out our successes—if we point them out at all. Additionally, many (including myself) are equally as terrible at accepting praise.
If you are anything like me, the worst experience imaginable is being singled out with praise in front of colleagues. This seemingly awesome and positive experience is sheer torture for me.
As I reflect deeper on these types of experiences, I can only ascertain that this is a defense mechanism against the appearance of egotism. In many cases, we so desperately want to remove ourselves from this label that are willing to simply skip out on the praise altogether.
This is an all-too-common occurrence in organizations—both with individuals and collectively. We plan, we work tirelessly, we eventfully succeed and then we…start all over again. The cycle is quite thankless and many great leaders simply choose to put their heads down and get back to work on the next project, initiative or problem.
While I respect this Spartan-like attitude of workmanship, it is also necessary to point out that the leader has missed an incredible opportunity.
When we fail to celebrate success or, even worse, when we fail to create opportunities to show our work, we create a pattern that is detrimental to our future achievements and potential for growth.
The Value of a Showcase Calendar
One method to eliminate this costly mistake is to create and employ a showcase calendar. The showcase calendar is a straightforward attempt to proactively plan and prepare for sizable events that could have a positive effect on the organization.
Consider the following contextual application of the showcase calendar:
School Districts/Municipalities/County Boards of Developmental Disabilities/Non-Profits
Reliance on the taxpayer-funded levy system is an unenviable position. While most of these organizations make considerable attempts to inform and engage their public stakeholders, our experiences working in collaboration with such entities delivers an almost universal truth—a diverse and comprehensive communications platform is very difficult to produce and maintain, given limited resources and time.
As such, it is advisable for these groups to take initiative and plan, promote and coordinate annual “signature” events that, collectively, will comprise the showcase calendar.
Sometimes, all that is necessary is simply assigning the appropriate individual to “cover” a pre-existing event. This individual becomes responsible for writing a press release, taking photos, shooting video and searching for people willing to provide great testimonials.
Other times, it may be necessary to engage an outside specialist to do this work for you. In any event, the return on investment is considerable.
Does your organization have an annual summer BBQ for families and staff? A homecoming festival and parade? How about an open house to show off new or updated facilities? These are all opportunities upon which the organization can capitalize.
If “big-ticket” events like these do not currently exist on your calendar, plan them! Create opportunities to get stakeholders on your campus and inside of the facilities. Show-off the great work and the great people that are devoted to the organization.
In this context, there is no longer a need for a levy-cycle in the traditional sense; the levy cycle is ongoing and never really ends.
Corporate and for-profit organizations can also see a tremendous benefit from a showcase calendar for many of the same reasons listed above. Furthermore, creating and cultivating brand awareness through increased communication and resonance is a common result of creating showcase events.
Leaders in these organizations would be wise to consider charity events, shareholder outings and corporate tours—all aimed at increasing touch-points to the organization itself.
Celebrating success is not synonymous with ego and should not be treated as such. Rather, it is a strategic decision to effectively connect with stakeholders in a meaningful way.
When considering your showcase calendar, start small and slowly build your way to eight to ten signature events annually. With diligence and planning, events that seem next to impossible to produce at their onset become increasingly easier each year— and your organization will be better for it in the long run.
The Impact Group serves as an industry and thought-leader in the world of communications and strategic planning. Want to discuss more? Contact us at igpr.com for a consultation.