Seth Godin’s recent blog post, Alphabets, provides a magnificent metaphor about how great leaders utilize their assets. Gutenberg’s typesetting machine, he writes, used collections of used to compose an infinite number of printed words. How do great leaders maximize use of their assets in achieving their goals and life’s objectives?
Our skills, resources and assets are like letters in the alphabet and we can re-use and recombine them in many different ways. It might be the real estate you own, the skills you’ve learned, the permission base you’ve built over time, but all of those assets can be leveraged in different ways. To grow, then, we only need to address two questions:
- Do I need more letters?
- How do I recombine the letters I’ve already got to create new value?
Chasing new letters is expensive. For most of us, a better first resort is to cherish the letters we’ve already got and be brave enough to recombine them into new forms, new approaches, new ways to add value. But yes, by all means, now that you’ve extracted maximum value, go get some new letters.
Are more letters needed? Great leaders are continuous learners always seeking new assets and resources to add depth and breadth to their already rich inventory. Their greatest fun and excitement takes place as they take these resources – shaping and molding them into new combinations, forms and shapes that exceed, outperform and become the tipping points of new levels of performance excellence. As Godin states, it is about adding maximum value. Shakespeare, Moliere, Dante, Thoreau, George Bernard Shaw, all had the same 26 letters with which to write. And with them, they created masterpieces. Maximize the value of your incredible gifts and talents. See life’s beauty, challenges and opportunities through eyes filled with excitement, joy and passion. Create combinations of your letters that are yet undreamed so that each day another page of your life’s masterpiece is written. And have a magnificent and fun time doing it.