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You’ll notice the leadership and management theme woven throughout the stories in this issue of the Retailer. This quote by Muhammad Ali encapsulates my thoughts on the topic:

“A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.”

From a leadership and management perspective, I contemplated this quote. How is my perspective of leadership today different than it was 30 years ago?

The world has changed vastly since 1992. The internet, social media, text messaging, working from home, and mobile computing were all unimaginable 30 years ago. Now these are all mainstream in the workplace. Like you, I had to embrace these changes at a faster pace than ever before.

For me, I’ve learned that leading is much harder than managing. What is the difference? The simple definition I subscribe to is: “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

Our world is filled with people who have failed believing that they were doing the right thing. How many times have you been convinced that you were doing the right thing but later realized you were wrong? I can raise my hand to attest to many failures throughout my career, but it was through those failures that I learned the most. The wisdom of this quote from Abraham Lincoln over 150 years ago is as true then as it is now:

“My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”

To be a leader requires us to be willing, vulnerable, and courageous to make mistakes. It requires us to step out of our comfort zones, take risks, adapt to unexpected changes, and learn from triumphs and failures. To give up and be satisfied with failure breaks the human spirit.

The Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA) continues to evolve and adapt to changes in order to fulfill our mission. Our annual evening district meetings with dealer members and workforce development workshops are a couple recent examples of INEDA adapting to change and “doing the right thing.”

As your dealership continues to face challenges with supply chain obstacles, manufacturer requirements, employee expectations, and/or workforce development challenges, you must adapt to change and adjust your leadership strategy accordingly.

In spite of all the chaos around us, I believe there are five ideologies that withstand the test of time and need to be preserved for future generations.

  1. Relationships should never be taken for granted. We need to invest more in our relationships, not less.
  2. Hard work pays off. My Grandpa worked hard, my dad worked hard, and now I work hard. And so will my son and grandsons. Hard work pays off.
  3. We aren’t perfect. We all still deserve to be treated with respect.
  4. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Speak less, listen more. Listen to non-verbal communication too.
  5. A “thank you” goes a long way. A good leader appreciates their people and lets them know it.

As you wrap up reading this article, I have one simple request of you.

Now is the time for you to tell the person who was a great leader in your life what they mean to you. If they are alive today, call them and tell them about the positive impact that their leadership has had on your life. If they are no longer living, take a minute and write a letter to them. Seeing those words will remind you of their impact on your life and your opportunity to make an impact on others.