Leadership Series: Pass the P’s - Life’s Leadership Lessons

07-17-2012 6:45 AM

Today’s post is the last post in our female Leadership Series. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about each leader. The final post in the series is from Mary Kay Inc.’s Chief Marketing Officer, Sheryl Adkins-Green.

Mary Kay Inc.’s Chief Marketing Officer, Sheryl Adkins-GreenIt is both an honor and challenge to be responsible for writing the concluding blog of The Mary Kay Way Leadership Series. I am fortunate to work with so many talented leaders who are committed to the company’s mission of enriching women’s lives. Each week I’ve gained powerful new perspectives on leadership. What was most striking was that each “lesson” learned came not from a book or lecture, but rather from a life experience. Most importantly, each woman in the series discovered her leadership strengths by taking on new life experiences. Interestingly, there were several themes which were consistently highlighted:

PurposeIn Women of Action, Terry Smith made a simple, yet bold statement: “Lead with a sense of purpose!”   Beth Ludwig built on this theme in Tales of the 4th Grade Leader with, “Leaders possess the ability to paint the picture of the end result and influence others to participate in the process.  With the end goal in mind, leaders facilitate creation of a plan.”

Passion – Each leader shared Mary Kay Ash’s passion for developing people.  I loved René Wickham’s Baby Chicks metaphor. She wrote, “Just like incubating eggs, leaders-to-be must hatch out of their shells.  We all have shells that must be broken down to release the real leader within.  Some shells are lack of confidence. Some shells are not recognizing our strengths. We all need the warmth, care, and attention of others to break through our shells." I also was moved by Love is in the Air when Wendy Wang wrote, “Like love, leadership is a decision.  Like love, you must decide to believe, to commit and to trust.”

Persistence – In The 4 P’s to Success, Dr. Beth Lange, today a highly sought-after speaker, shared how she – with dedication and practice -  triumphed over a speech disorder which challenged her as a child. In The Heart of a Lion, Peggy Davidson shared her experiences regarding having the courage and humility to truly hear and accept feedback as a gift.

Precision – Who can forget Laura Beitler’s Eat Your Frogs?   Laura Beitler described a leader as functioning like the trim tab on a ship. “The trim tab is tiny compared to the size and weight of the ship, yet it is the precision of the trim tab that determines the ship’s course.” In The Value System, Carrie Adams recalled how no person was “too small” to be appreciated in the eyes of Mary Kay Ash.

Potential – Michelle Norman’s The Other Path was an inspiring example of taking on a new challenge and seeing the potential of new opportunities, even those that can lie in the unfamiliar.

Preparation – Tara Eustace’s mother told her, “Luck is preparedness meeting opportunity.” Great advice!  In The Opportunity, Tara shared “Since then, I do not believe in luck. I believe in embracing opportunity and in being prepared with the attitude, the tools, the energy and the willingness to work hard and to maximize that opportunity.” Another wise woman, Anne Crews, wrote in At Your Best - “Take advantage of every opportunity. Sometimes you may lead. Sometimes you may follow. But if you take advantage of these occasions, you will always learn.”

Perspective – Melinda Sellers’ The Speed of the Leader provided key advice regarding self-awareness. “The first step is taking an honest look in the mirror. Make sure you are setting the example of the kind of leadership others will want to follow.”

Positivity – In Look ‘FORE’ward, But Don’t Look Back, Naomi Buerkle shared a powerful golf analogy about the importance of looking forward toward the future, and not looking back. (Did you ever notice that guys don’t spend time looking back?!) And in If It’sTo Be, It’s Up To Me, Lynda Rose summed up her mantra beautifully – “Your biography, i.e. your history, is not your destiny.”

I‘ve loved reading all of the inspiring comments that readers have shared throughout the series. Which of the blogs in the Leadership series was your favorite? What lessons did you take away? Which of the leadership lessons are you passing on to others?

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