Letter from the Editor January 2015

headerimage01I just watched The Equalizer last night. In the movie, Denzel Washington plays a typical nice, normal guy working in a typical box Home Depot-like store. Until he sees injustice. Then his bad self comes out. And, if you’re the one who did the injustice, you don’t want to see Denzel’s bad self. (Stick with me, this is great leadership stuff!)

At one point in the movie when Denzel is deep into destroying the Russian Mafia, he seeks the help of his former boss – now retired with her husband in a secluded mansion somewhere in Virginia; here you find out the reason for Denzel’s amazing skills – he’s former black ops CIA stuff where his hands and mind are weapons of mass destruction. While providing information about the main bad guy, Denzel’s former boss can do little else – she has no contacts, no access. As Denzel’s leaving, the husband asks the former boss, “Were you able to help in any way?” referring to wiping the Russian Mafia – with its human trafficking, drug running, extortion, prostitution, etc. – from the face of the Earth. The former boss replies, “He wasn’t looking for help; he was looking for permission.”

It was that kind of movie! Awesome. My wife wouldn’t watch it.

The very first thing to appear on the screen was a quote from Mark Twain: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

Clearly Denzel Washington knew why he was born – what he was meant to do. His raison d’etre was to deal with injustice, to right wrongs, to kick some bad guys’ collective butt. Denzel’s legacy lived in the people he helped: the prostitute-turned-coed, the underachieving co-worker-turned-confident-security guard, and others; a safer world.

As a leader, what is YOUR “why?” What do YOU want to be known for? What legacy do you want to leave? And what are you doing now to create that legacy?
Maybe you’ll come to be known as the Developer, growing talent and honing skills of the people who work for you. Maybe you’ll be remembered as the Innovator, helping your team push the organization to new processes, products, futures. Maybe you’ll be recalled as the Coach, taking good performance to great. Maybe people will think of you as the Cross-Pollinator (sounds like Terminator ?), recognized for building cross-functional alliances.

Mark Twain was partially right regarding the “why?” However, I believe that you don’t “find out” why; you CHOOSE why. You CHOOSE your legacy. Denzel Washington
CHOSE to be the Equalizer.

Choose your leadership legacy. And start building it today!

Terry (The Developer of Leaders)

Read more valuable leadership and management-related articles in this month’s Unleash Your Leadership Potential newsletter…

January 2015

Author: STEP Consulting