For the background of this list – see my original post from 2-10-12.
The #4 Rap Lyric that Shaped My Leadership Style comes from a man that is making his second appearance on my countdown the one and only Shawn Carter, or as he’s better known – Jay-Z! The lyric actually come from a remix he did for Kayne West on the song Diamonds From Sierra Leone. Here’s the Lyric:
“I’m not a businessman/ I’m a business, man.”
To often as leaders we talk about wanting to be more strategic for our organizations, or wanting to have more impact within our organizations, but I see people going about it all wrong. You can go into a corporate setting and “act” the part, but you’ll never reach your full potential as a leader until you make the conscience decision to fully commit to making yourself that person you desire. That is the essence of this lyric. I don’t want to be businessman, I want to be the Business, man. People don’t follow posers – they follow people who are completely committed and passionate about what they do.
It might sound altruistic, but think about those people who you really consider to be the greatest leaders. Almost always you can differentiate those people from the brand they are supporting. You hear it all time – “Oh, she is Nike.” or “He bleeds UPS brown”. Entrepreneurs get this – they are their business, but most corporate folks don’t really understand the true meaning of this. Sometimes in corporate settings these people are actually mocked because people believe “they drank the kool-aid” too much – which is a shame, because they are probably your most engaged employees, but you are resentful over their seemingly high satisfaction.
The only advice I give people on this topic is if you can’t truly support your organization (which means referring friends and family, going the extra mile for your company, and being honest with yourself to love what you do and who your doing it for) you need to find an organization that you do feel this way about. You owe it to yourself, but more importantly you owe it to the business and all those other people who do want to be here and be successful.