“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill I have set off for a 10-day tour to promote the Intero brand in England, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain, where I'll spend some time with my daughter Alex who's taking a school semester in Barcelona. Since I was in London first, I thought it would be appropriate to devote this week's Thoughts on Leadership to Winston Churchill.
During my sightseeing of London, I visited a historic museum where I came across a sculpture of Churchill.
As Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill guided the nation through World War II with courage and strength. He gave hope to a hopeless nation during the darkest of times, and was instrumental in turning the tides of the battle against the Axis Forces in Europe.
Europe had succumbed to Hitler; the British people wanted “appeasement” to avoid devastation. Britain had experienced some major military defeats. However, Churchill had not yet gained agreement from the U.S. to enter the war. Yet, he inspired a nation, perhaps the world, to continue to endure the suffering and fight on.
Churchill inspired confidence in the ability to win. He inspired people to make unusual sacrifices to achieve his well-communicated vision. His leadership style and skills were brilliant, and exemplified seven steps to leadership excellence:
- Elegant and flexible communication. Churchill’s passion and authenticity when addressing parliament and the public are the traits for which he is most remembered.
- Coaching and mentoring. Churchill’s team comprised all of Britain in a difficult and dangerous time in history.
- Resolving challenges, conflict, complaints and issues. Churchill confronted each challenge that he met with intelligence and a level head. His job was to build relationships, communicate with the people of Britain and creatively solve problems.
- Focus. From the beginning, Churchill passionately opposed Hitler and the Nazi philosophy. He maintained unwavering focus on Hitler's defeat during the war, and every plan and strategy that he put into place reflected this goal.
- Beliefs and values. Churchill was able to focus clearly because he deeply understood his own beliefs, values and the philosophy of the Allies and democracy.
- Innovation and creativity. Churchill's strategies were innovative and bold, earning him the nickname, “The British Bulldog,” by the Russian dictator Stalin.
- Go for gold. Churchill was as bold as they come. It was aim and aim high for him.
Churchill was the lion who roared when the British Empire needed him most. He was never reckless, especially when the lives of British men were at stake. He was bold, strong and fearless in his commitment to his goal.
Consider the seven principles as you face challenges in your own leadership pursuits. Lead and lead well.
As Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”