When I lived in Los Angeles back in the late ’80s, I would spend some sunny Sunday afternoons at the Santa Anita racetrack, watching great thoroughbred horses blaze around the oval course.
I wasn’t that much of a gambler (I just liked the scene of it all), but once in a while I’d put some pocket money down on something called the “Trifecta”.
It was a high risk bet with a huge reward, because of its difficulty – you had to pick the top 3 horses in a particular race, in the correct order of finish.
I never hit that horse racing trifecta, but I did hit a different kind of trifecta about 20 years later.
One that also involved a gamble. Actually, a MUCH bigger one, with more at stake than some pocket change.
I took my biggest leadership gamble for the success trifecta – a profitable company, a happy team, and a fulfilled leader.
The “bet” was to change from “boss” to “more human leader” (here is a primer on the key differences).
I made the bet because I wanted more than just financial success. I had done that once before, about the same time I was spending those Sunday afternoons at the race track.
It was an empty feeling. It didn’t feel right, because the company was managed by a bunch of “bosses” – and at the time, I had to include myself in that category.
The big boss owner got the company to the financial finish line, and that was it. The people working in the company, and the under-bosses (like me), were left behind in the back of the pack.
I needed MORE. Yes, the financial success needs to happen. It’s the first leg of the trifecta. But the next time I had the opportunity, I made an additional bet that I could carry everyone else, including myself, into the winner’s circle.
The high risk that came along with the bet was showing the more human side of me – a vulnerable, imperfect, humble, and emotional person who admitted he didn’t have all the answers, or even knew all the questions.
Once I went down that path, I couldn’t turn back. Would the personal connections carry me through? Would they follow me?
It’s much less risky to put on the “boss” suit, and strictly push for bottom line success. It’s not as messy. The boss mask offers a barrier – it’s doesn’t require the connections, or even followers. It just requires execution through obedience driven by fear. Consequently, there’s no worry about the other two legs of the trifecta.
Take that risk. Go More Human and shoot for the trifecta. Because remember, YOUR personal fulfillment is the last leg.
And take my word for it, it is SO worth it.
(For more on what it means to be a More Human leader, see my new “What is More Human Leadership” page – it has a free downloadable PDF, and links to key reference posts)