What Does Thinning Hair Have To Do With Leadership?

About six months ago, I went to get a haircut and received a good bit of unsolicited honesty from the stylist.  She informed me that my hair was thinning and it would continue to do so if I did nothing about it.  Now as a male in my forties, I already knew my hair was thinning but I certainly wasn't expecting that blatant of a comment.  Especially from someone that would be looking for a nice tip at the end of the haircut.

Now came the angle, "We have this great product line that can help you regrow some of the hair you are losing."  My immediate thought was one word.......SCAM.  I listened to her pitch and after awhile, it actually started to make a lot of sense.  I'm not sure if I was using logic or I was looking for hope but nonetheless, it made sense.  I was a sucker and bought the line of products to see if they worked fully expecting no results.

When I started to use the product, I realized I had stumbled onto some important leadership lessons.  As my wife would tell you, only I would be able to turn a balding cranium into some sort of business lesson (I think the shorter version was, "You are such a
dork!")   The product line has three steps:  Shampoo, Conditioner and Stimulator.  Here are the questions and lessons that arise from each step.

First of all, think of your organization as my scalp (I know it's weird but stick with me!)

Shampoo -  This special shampoo was all natural and it's purpose was to clean all of the toxins and impurities from the scalp caused by gels, sprays and natural oils.  All of these things clog the scalp and block natural hair growth.  It also clears out the dead skin cells and the dead hair.
  • Do you have toxins and impurities (people, process, systems) in your organization that block the growth of your people or business? 
  • Even if you cleanse them on occasion, do you keep putting the same toxins back on creating a vicious cycle?
  • Is there "dead weight" in your organization that you haven't dealt with which is blocking healthy growth?
  • If so, what do you need to do to cleanse the organization?

- This provides all natural vitamins and nourishment to the scalp after the cleansing.  It was also recommended to leave it on for several minutes so it has a chance to "soak in."
  • What activities provide nourishment to your organization?
  • Do you have the patience to let these activities soak in over time for maximum effect?

Stimulator - This foam protects the scalp from harmful UV rays but also stimulates the scalp which promotes hair growth.
What do you have in place organizationally that protects it from harmful outside influences or from competitors?
What programs do you have in place that stimulate employee's thought processes and encourage creativity and innovation?
The final requirement of the hair growth process is to repeat these three steps every day.  Not once a week or when I remember, but daily!  The discipline to carry out the three step process is critical to the success of the program.  Failure to commit to the daily process will result in no new hair growth.
As a leader, are you committed to:
  • determining the cleansing, conditioning and stimulation that your organization needs?
  • devoting a significant amount of time, on a daily basis, to organizational growth activities?
  • having the discipline and patience to stay with it daily knowing that organizational change does not happen overnight but will take months and sometimes years for it to fully take hold?
Six months later, I am happy to report that the system is working!  I have been diligent in my daily three step activities and at my next haircut appointment, my stylist showed me where new growth was "sprouting" up.  This was exciting for me and encouraged me to stay disciplined to my daily routine.

Communicating and celebrating short term wins are critical to long term successes.  Being able to show short term progress will motivate you as a leader to stay disciplined to the plan and will show others that the programs/initiatives are working.  Without showing and communicating progress, new programs tend to lose momentum and fade away.

  • Do you spend enough time as a leader finding and celebrating short term wins that illustrate the progress that is being made? 
  • Do you communicate with enthusiasm that the program is working and staying disciplined to the plan is the key to long term success?  
  • Do you communicate that long term success is simply a collection of short term wins?

I am committed to continuing the three step hair growth process.  With discipline to commit to the process daily and the patience of knowing that results occur slowly over a long period of time, I know I will be happy with the results of my efforts.

Do you have the discipline and the patience to cleanse, condition and stimulate your organization?  If so, I suspect you will be very happy with the results!

Find out more about Derrick at www.derrickstrand.com or contact him at dstrand@derrickstrand.com.



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