Will That Be Cash, Credit or Leadership Currency?

March 24, 2014

"That'll be $20.14," the cashier says politely. "Cash, credit or ... debit?" 

"Credit, please," you respond, as you effortlessly swipe in one swift motion. "Thank you."

"Have a great day and thank you for your business today," the cashier responds. "Please come back and see us again."

"You’re welcome,” you answer. “Have a great day.”

This transactional scenario happens often. For those with purpose, it occurs every day, and if you’re really good at it, this transaction happens more often than you think. It has nothing to do with whipping out your credit card. Rather, I’m talking about orchestrating a special kind of transaction at every opportunity.

A typical business transaction occurs when the buyer views the seller's item as needed, wanted or desired to the point that the buyer also is willing to give up something of value to get it. When the seller and buyer agree on a price, an exchange of commodities occurs, and each party walks away with a compromise – their best-negotiated deal.

Trust is a big factor in any business transaction. You trust that what you purchased performs as advertised. The seller trusts that what you’re offering actually is worth its representation at the time of the transaction. For trust to be well-established, it must experience a history of positive actions that leads each entity to believe in the possibility that the results of the transaction will match their expectations for the results of the transaction.

In effective leadership, the organization agrees to follow the trustfulness, mentorship, guidance and direction its leader offers. To take it a step further, the organization fully commits to a shared vision and completely dedicates itself to the successful implementation of the mission. This is common knowledge.

The question, then, is how do leaders get to that point where the organization honors them with room presence and complete admiration?

One strategy that helps you get there is to think of leadership as a transactional commodity, a form of currency – something of value that you can trade with those who need it, want it and desire it (your organization). In other words, for a transaction to happen between you and your organization, your organization must value what you have to offer (your leadership) to the point that it is willing to give up something of high value (its unwavering devotion) to get it.

While there is no single roadway paving the path toward achieving a sustainable sale for every scenario, the following 10 steps will help you prepare your display case for prospective buyers to take notice:

  1. Leaders make decisions, so make them – decisively.
  2. Leaders drive their organizations to achieve greatness, so challenge and empower your organization to be great.
  3. Leaders don’t know all the answers, but your organization likely does, so ask for them.
  4. Leaders build trust, so offer your trust to those who’ve earned it.
  5. Leaders serve their organizations, so serve, energize and inspire.
  6. Leaders achieve results through the demonstration of ethical behaviors, so demonstrate them.
  7. Leaders say what they do and do what they say, so make promises often and definitely keep them.
  8. Leaders see what most others do not, so offer the gift of vision.
  9. Leaders are fair and equitable, so openly express fairness and equality.
  10. Leaders embrace the various forms of diversity – including diversity of thought – so encourage it.

Admired leaders share something very special with the wealthiest people on the planet: They all have a valuable asset that surpasses the imaginable. Their asset is the determined devotion of the organization – the same organization that willingly purchased what they had to offer: leadership through trust, guidance, mentorship and unwavering support.

"I'll be right with you," politely says the cashier to the next customer in line. "Thank you for stopping by. Will that be cash, credit, or... leadership currency?"

Dare to think differently.

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