On a recent business trip to Arizona, I took a few vacation days at the beginning of the trip to visit family. My daughter is a freshman at the University of Arizona in Tucson and my parents and sister’s family live in Phoenix. It was nice to catch up, eat some great Mexican food, see my daughter’s dorm room, go to my niece’s soccer game and, in general, just hang out with family. I no longer live in Phoenix but it’s always great to go home. In addition to spending some time with family, I was able to see some old friends and business colleagues for lunch and coffee. There were some practical, family “things” we addressed while I was in town. The timing of my visit couldn’t have been better. Providence!
We laughed. We cried. We worshiped. We worked. We napped. We hugged. We repaired. We cooked. And we laughed some more. I love my family (warts and all!). It was a blessing to be in town and see everyone. Truly.
During my visit, we ate some great homemade meals at both my mom’s and sister’s houses. They, like my wife, are accomplished cooks as anyone who’s eaten their dishes can attest. But one dish I want to discuss this week isn’t a particularly fancy item. It’s rather common, especially in the American South. Biscuits.
Though not a culinary work of art per se, eating biscuits in the South is almost a religious experience. You need great biscuits for sausage or sawmill gravy, for apple-butter, for sorghum or molasses, for mopping up redeye gravy, for ham, for tenderloin, for big slabs of butter. Great biscuits require skill and the great cooks of the South pass down their biscuit-making recipes and tips from generation to generation, from blood to blood.
Well, I had some of the best biscuits I’ve ever eaten while in Phoenix. They had great flavor. They didn’t fall apart yet they were flaky enough to separate easily. They were, simply, delicious!
So I asked the cook for her secret and she pulled out a box. She said they weren’t made 100% from scratch. These biscuits came from a box, a mix. Wow. I was surprised! I was expecting some difficult process involving many complicated steps. A box. Perhaps even I could make great biscuits.
The cook could have hidden her secret as so many do. She could have given several different answers, none of which were helpful or truthful. But because she’s a confident leader, she didn’t hesitate. She said the amazing biscuits came from a box mix. She brought out the box for me to see. In fact, she sent me back to Connecticut with my own box!
Great leaders have secrets. They have tips, gems, pearls, nuggets and lessons they’ve acquired and learned from life experiences, from others, from mentors, from coaches, from books, from workshops, from prayer and from formal study. The real question is do they freely share them with others?
I’ve been fortunate to have a few really good mentors during my lifetime, leaders who freely share everything they know, blood or no blood. They don’t hold back. They share their best ideas, secrets, tips and advice. They are confident. They don’t care what others think of them. They want to help others. They are givers. They are encouragers. They challenge. And they provoke deep thinking.
What about you? Are you sharing your secrets? Do you freely give? Do you have mentors who invest in you? Are you confident enough to share openly and without concern about what others think?
Great leaders don’t hoard information. They give it. They let others know what biscuit mix to use. They know some things are made from scratch and some aren’t. And they don’t mind letting you know their secrets. In fact, they can’t help but share.
Have a great week and remember to share your secrets with others!
Dr. Robert Gerwig is an agent of change and is able to balance the needs of the business and the needs of people. Dr. Gerwig believes and practices the values of performance and delivery of business metrics while simultaneously developing and growing people into leaders. You can contact him at RobertGerwig[at]LeadStrategic.com.
Photo by Author