Pioneering Your Competitive Advantage in 2017

The past three weeks I have spent in Kapsowar, Kenya. During part of my time I have been reading books on the Kindle my staff gave me for Christmas. One of my favorites has been, Serve to Lead: Your Transformational 21st Century Leadership System. Ethics and character go hand-in-hand and the author quotes from those he feels understand what will give businesses success in coming years. CEO of LRN, Dov Seidman, believes that “Character is increasingly a competitive advantage and that character is making a comeback in the 21st Century.” In fact, he says, “In a connected world, countries, governments and companies also have character and their character is how they do what they do, how they keep promises, how they make decisions, how things really happen inside, how they connect and collaborate, how they engender trust, how they relate to their customers, to the environment and to the communities in which they operate, and is now their fate.”

Seidman goes on to say that in the emerging relationship-based society that we have the “rare opportunity to out behave the competition.”

How can we in society and in business behave in such a way that it impacts our workforce and the people we serve for competitive advantage? Consider Google’s employee-generated slogan, “don’t do evil”–it’s acting in the most practical, bottom line focused way. Another company declares “it’s more profitable to be ethical.”

Leaders (of which we all serve and lead in some capacity) must understand that service is the essence of leadership and character is the key to service.

In the wired world of technology of the 21st century, the game is changing for everyone in leadership today. Leaders are on display 24/7 and the world is watching. To create sustainable value, we must act ethically in all we endeavor to do. One of my favorite quotes from my mother is, “Son, you cannot, not communicate.” Someone is always watching, she would say, and my mother would always find out. I grew up in a small town in Kansas and it did appear she got reports about all I ever did behind her back.

My son Kyle is a missionary doctor serving in the heart of Kenya in a small 120 bed hospital. Daily he rounds with the patients and I have had the opportunity to follow him around as he serves his patients these past few weeks. They have a small nursing school at the hospital so each day students join him on the calls. The regular nurses and attendants also follow him with charts and reports. In this small hospital, they will have 12-16 beds in a room and the families come to help with their loved ones, along with those cleaning up and those serving food and chai. At times my son will have up to 10-15 people at his side watching and listening to him as he moves through the room of patients. He teaches, exhorts, corrects, prays and encourages a group of people every day. He has a gift of serving and leadership that is impacting a generation of people for eternity. I have been challenged and encouraged by his example of transformational leadership in serving others.

Look around and find an example that you can emulate in 2017 as an opportunity for you to out behave the competition in serving and leadership.

We have a team of professional leadership development coaches that can help you to be more competitive. Don’t hesitate to increase your effectiveness in 2017.

Travis Jones - CEO of Career Development Partners

Written By Travis Jones

Travis has been an entrepreneur and business owner in Tulsa for over 30 years. He is a well-known community servant and is dedicated to providing world-class service for everyone we encounter at Career Development Partners.

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