Home > Business > “Are you IN the movie, or just watching the movie?” By Liz Brunner
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Well, that’s a really good question…that has nothing to do with the movies, and everything to do with becoming a value based leader.  

It was a question posed by Harry Kramer to a group of emerging Chief Legal Officers attending a special Academy at Deloitte University in Texas.  I got to be a fly on the wall for his enlightening presentation.  

Kramer, who is an executive partner with Madison Dearborn Partners, a private equity firm based in Chicago, Illinois and a Clinical Professor of Strategy at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, has authored two books, one on which he spoke about that day at Deloitte University.  

In Becoming the Best: Build a World-Class Organization Through Values-Based Leadership, https://harrykraemer.org/books/harrys-books/becoming-the-best/

Kramer says true leaders start leading long before they have anyone reporting to them.  

As an executive coach, I often work with men and women on how to become better, more authentic leaders, and much of what Kramer shared that day rang true, validating many of the principles I try to instill in my clients.  “Leadership is not a destination,” said Kramer, “it is a journey.”  

So many people get caught up in “titles,” but true leadership has nothing to do with titles and organizational charts.  It’s about relationships.  Getting people to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do.  They’re inspired with a “can do” attitude of “how do we get it done?” and “let’s go and do it.”

In both Kramer’s books, he outlines his four principles to becoming a value based leader; self-reflection, balance, true confidence and genuine humility.  He believes if you make progress in these four areas, you will become a better leader, and I agree.  

Just as no one is born being an effective public speaker, no one is born knowing how to be a leader, or a CEO.  These are all learned skills.

Kramer also challenges everyone to ask themselves;  “Do you really want to be a leader?”  How proactive do you want or need to be to make being a leader a reality?  More often than not, it requires getting out of one’s comfort zone.  When I work with clients, I like to use the analogy that people are like “rubber bands.”  As creatures of habit, we are only willing to stretch ourselves so far, but in order to grow and develop into being more of our authentic leader selves, we have to stretch that rubber band far beyond what’s comfortable.

If you can stretch yourself, if you can lead yourself, you can lead other people.

Anyone can write a movie review, but if you want to be a leader, get out of your comfort zone and be in the movie!