Standing as the keynote speaker in a room filled with CEOs and board chairs can feel a little like being a matador in a bullfight – it seems like a great idea until you’re actually there.
Fortunately, the CEOs and board chairs at the CUES symposium were of the friendly variety. No horns, or, as they call them in American rodeo, no clown stabbers. These were hard-working, smart leaders eager to learn and looking to me for some insights. They weren’t looking to gore me. In fact, they, too, could relate to being a matador.
Being a matador is much like being a leader. It’s easy to think you want to be a matador until you have to face the angry bull; then you realize you just wanted to wear the colorful clothes and hear the cheers from the crowd. And it’s much the same for high-level leadership. The perks can look amazing – decision-making authority, prestige, a nice office, and a pretty good paycheck. But don’t jump in that ring if you aren’t willing to face the bulls that inevitably charge your way.
Extreme Leadership comes with extreme responsibility. It’s not for the faint of heart. But the rewards are significant, and I’m not just talking about the material perks. Extreme Leadership is exhilarating because it produces influence that makes everyone around you better. It’s the reward that comes from helping others – and the business – succeed. For the business, that includes higher revenues and greater profits. For the individuals, it goes even deeper and includes a love for their work and a joy in life.
Does it come with challenges and risks, many of which will make you uncomfortable? You bet. It requires Love, Energy, Audacity, and Proof, but it’s worth it to take the LEAP. And that’s no bull.