#18 Rap Lyric That Shaped My Leadership Style

For the background of this list – see my original post from 2-10-12.

The #18 Rap Lyric that Shaped My Leadership Style comes from the St. Lunatic himself Nelly and from the song #1 off his 2002 Nellyville album.  Here’s the lyric:

“Two is not a winner, and three nobody remembers. What does it take to be number 1?”

Whether it’s in business or my personal life – I don’t play to be 2nd place.  I go with the old adage that “2nd place is the first loser” or Ricky Bobby’s Dads philosophy “if you’re ain’t first, your last”

This isn’t something I’m proud of, but I once six packed (definition of six pack in volleyball terms – hitting your opponent in the face with a hard spiked ball) my aunt at a family picnic volleyball game when I was in college.  I like to win.  Or maybe it’s more appropriate to say – “I hate losing”.  You see winners get to do what they want – at least that’s what I tell my 3 sons – “We’re Sackett’s and we’re winners – because winners get to do what they want!” (I imagine I’ll be pulled into many adult therapy sessions of my grown children as they progress through life and therapist will want to see where this all came from!)  We’re just big hairy American winning machines.

Now that you all feel bad for my wife, let me get into why this is an important leadership trait. I truly believe that losing doesn’t teach you anything but how to lose.  You can look at sports teams, businesses that are struggling – it doesn’t matter – when you get use to losing, losing happens more often – you get comfortable with losing. I never want to be comfortable with losing.  “But how does this have anything to do with being a good leader?”   If you’re a leader in an HR function – at one point in your career – you’re probably going to take over a department that is considered to be “losing” in the organization – and you have to turn it around.

The only way you turn around a losing streak – is to start winning.  In an organization that means finding things to win at – even small things – and do them everyday – keep winning.  I’ve taken over 3 recruiting departments in my career that were considered losers by the organization – they were broken and they were use to losing.  We immediately stopped what we were doing – which was just causing more loses.  We went out and started delivery what hiring managers needed – but only to the most critical openings in the organization.  Very narrow – but doing it very well.  We were winning with a small few.  This caused other hiring managers to want us to do the same, we gained momentum – we got use to winning.

Leaders know if they are leading a losing department – as a decision maker in your organization – you have to be able to determine if they are comfortable with losing – if they are, you need to make a move.  Selecting people who hate losing and have to win in your organization will change culture almost faster than anything.  If you ain’t first, you’re last.

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