If you know me at all, you probably know that I am an avid supporter of Boy Scouts. I’ve been part of the scouting movement almost my whole life. I’m an Eagle Scout and the father of an Eagle Scout. A couple of years ago, after serving as Scoutmaster of a troop I launched, I decided to step down from the day-to-day interaction of serving at the troop level and try to find another way to help scouts. I ended up serving as our district’s advancement chairman. In this role, I interact with scouts on a regular basis who are working on becoming Eagle Scouts themselves. It’s a very rewarding role, but not one without it’s frustrations.
One thing that frustrates me to no end, is when a scout comes to me with an idea for an Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project, that is clearly not up to the standards we have set. Let me explain. The project (or ESLSP) is like the “capstone” course of your college program. It’s that opportunity for a young man to take all the leadership skills he has developed over the years and apply them in a very real, meaningful way, by providing service to his community. There is no set number of hours that he must fulfill, only that he must demonstrate leadership. There are a number of parameters that further define what is allowed and not.
So, here’s where the frustration comes in. On a rare occasion I’ll have a young man come in with an idea that’s just “good enough”. On the surface it meets the criteria, but it doesn’t really do anything to challenge him. It’s quite obvious when you talk to him that he’s just trying to get by. In fact, I’ve had a few boys actually tell me that this is what they were doing. (I guess you can say “at least their honest”.)
Unfortunately, what I see in these boys (albeit a small subset of the onesI work with), is something that’s all to common in society and the workplace today. People look for just “good enough”. Good enough to meet the customer requirements. Good enough to pass the minimum standard. Good enough to make the minimum return on investment. Good enough to finish on time, but not ahead of time.
Do you see that as much as I do? I’m sure you do. It’s very frustrating whether it’s on the job or in other environment.
Real leaders don’t do this. Real leadership involves taking on a challenge and delivering “above and beyond”. I’m not looking for leaders that can meet expectations. I’m looking for leaders that will blow away expectations.
The world is full of people willing to get by. If you want to make a different – on the job, in your family, in your church or other organization, take the mantle of leadership and don’t look for the easy way out. Challenge yourself and those around you to blow away expectations and deliver far more than what’s expected. That’s what real leaders do.