Often when you read about leadership it all surrounds around the über success of the person and the size of their bank account. But there is more to leadership than that. When success is attained, what separates the winners and losers is their level of humility. Nothing is worse than meeting someone successful
who is not a nice person. I have been disappointed more times than I care to admit. Some stories would shock you but they are in my vault and unlike George Costanza I don’t open it :) I do have to say though- they eventually get what they deserve. Karma is indeed a bitch.
I am often asked how I picked the individuals I decided to write about in “Opportunity Knocking”. While I certainly looked at their accomplishments, I paid particular attention to their humility. In order to appreciate success you have to be thankful and remember to pay forward.
From Harold Hamm, who says “I try to practice humility on a daily basis,” to David Rubenstein, who reminds us, “If good fortune should strike, it is important to give back much of that good fortune to help others … reach their own objectives and to achieve some measure of good fortune as well,” these leaders have never forgotten where they came from. Their pyramids are stronger because of that.
True leaders are not empty souls. They do not live and operate in a bubble of arrogance. They inspire others by their actions. Words are great but unless they are backed up with action they are worthless. In this book I asked all of my contacts three things I believe are necessary in order to live a full, well-rounded life: Rules to Live By, Mantra and Life Lessons.
These three principles are critical in creating your road map to success. Just like the Opportunity Pyramid where each layer supports and builds you to the next level, you must have these three principles in order to achieve your goals. They should be your anchor, stabilizing you in the sea of challenge and uncertainty.
In a page from my notebook on Harold Hamm– you will see the winning combination of business savvy and humility.
A Page from My Notebook: Harold Hamm
Rules to Live By
• I have pressed hard to cram as much leadership training into my curriculum as quickly as possible to get ahead of my competition and grow as an effective
leader. I have enjoyed teaching leadership through seminars, while honing my own skills. Although I still have a long way to go, I have developed a leadership
style that empowers my key people to implement corporate strategies and execute them well.
• A strong capitalistic system for business is critical so that entrepreneurs like myself can and will build wonderful businesses across America. I believe
strongly in entrepreneurship, having built a very large company from scratch.
Planning—planning—execution. Planning is integral to good execution. People who come in with their hair on fire irk me. Poor planning on their part does not necessarily constitute an emergency on my part.
• You have to base your life around principles: fairness, integrity, charity, honesty, caring for others, etc. If you deviate from these, you are just fooling yourself and setting yourself up for a big fall. I try to practice humility on a daily basis and employ all of the principles I have learned.
• I have learned never to become over-leveraged with debt. I have a signed pledge on my wall that I live by personally. It reads “Neither a Borrower Nor a Lender
Be.” It has served me well.
• At Continental we have only borrowed meaningfully to develop projects that have already proven to be very economical, with high rates of return.