"Great military leaders are developed and they emerge in wartime, not peace time. And great business leaders are developed and emerged during recessions, not prosperity.
In times of prosperity, any amateur can manage. But in a recession, they get exposed. Like a tank commander facing enemy fire for the first time, amateur managers panic, hesitate and procrastinate. They retreat and they run for the hills.
As a young leader, you now have the extraordinary opportunity to become what's the equivalent of a war time leader. Now, amateurs and professionals have the same goals, but they have different mindsets, habits and reflexes. When you learn to lead in a recession, you're going to develop the mindset, habit and reflexes that will serve you well for the rest of your career.
Most managers are amateurs because their mindset, habits and reflexes were developed during times of prosperity. But you can be different.
- Amateurs live in the past and worry about the future. Professionals focus on the here and now.
- Amateurs are self-centered. They compete against each other and view success as a zero-sum game. Professionals see the big picture and focus on the greater good.
- Amateurs act impulsively, need instant gratification and they aren't self-aware. Professionals act rationally. They're very patient and they self-reflect.
- Amateurs react. Professionals come prepared.
- Amateurs are fearful. Professionals face fears head-on.
- Amateurs overcomplicate. Professionals simplify.
- Amateurs are emotional. Professionals are thoughtful.
- Amateurs are entitled. Professionals are grateful.
- Amateurs are very judgmental. Professionals are very compassionate.
- Amateurs seek comfort and certainty. But professionals accept discomfort and uncertainty.
- Amateurs deflect blame. Professionals take responsibility.
Here's your big takeaway: Amateurs and professionals have different mindsets, habits and reflexes. But they also have different standards. Professionals keep a professional's standards, which are higher and harder to get to.
An amateur accepts the standards of an amateur. In a recession either survive or thrive. It's a choice. Amateurs focus on survival and they anchor their amateur ways and then they get exposed.
Professionals want to thrive, so they develop the mindset, habits and reflexes to do just that. They seize this opportunity and so can you. Embrace the standards of a professional and become a war-time leader. It's a choice. And it's a choice you make every day. It's not the easy choice. In fact, it's damn hard. And it's a lonely pursuit because most managers are okay being amateurs. They're not going to get the way you're thinking or your mindset. And you're going to be working on different habits and reflexes.
There are about 60-million amateur golfers in the world and only 3,000 professionals competing for prize money. Professional status isn't easy, but you've got this!
Accept the challenge, rise to this occasion and thrive through this recession. Become the business equivalent of a war-time leader."
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