One thing is for sure, we are not getting any younger and time is a finite resource for each of us. There are so many meaningful things that we could be doing with our limited time, but we'd be doing these things at the expense of even more profitable activities. Profitability isn't simply reduced to dollars and cents in this context—it’s stewardship.
I, like you, am asked to do more than my fair share. A good friend reminds me consistently of the scripture, “To whom much is given, much is required.” One way I interpret this powerful message is through the lens of stewardship. Stewardship means to take care of. In our professional lives, we get the privilege of stewarding our companies and organizations, and if we do a good job, we leave it a little better each year. The quality of our stewardship impacts everything, including our time, our relationships, our impact on the world and its people, and how we will ultimately be remembered.
I think most successful people have a bit of a stereotypical “Type A personality,” that is they like to control as much of their environment as they possibly can. I have seen this trait in leaders within the social, religious, academic, government, and business sectors, all of which I have been exposed to through my work and civic duties. The best leaders, those who have achieved and amassed a body of work worth noting, learn how to trust in others and how to trust their judgment that they have curated the right others around them. You scale your impact based on your empowerment of others. You scale based on the cultivation and stewardship of trust.
As I embrace a new year, I am reminded that there are activities that we are all engaged in that someone else could do better, but because they will do them differently, we choose to not delegate. This is an inefficient use of talent--and is therefore unprofitable. Sometimes we don’t delegate because we subliminally fear that the world will wake up to the fact that we are not all-knowing, and the world will not stop because we are no longer active in it--this is an inefficient use of our emotions. We have all heard at one time or another that people will rise to the level of your expectations and if you have faith in them, if you trust, it is added fuel. By placing our trust in others, and by stepping out of the way through delegation, we help others, and our organizations, to scale to their full potential.
Let’s commit to being disciplined with our “No” and with our “Yes” in 2023, and in so doing help provide others a platform on which to flourish. When a resource is widely available for use - most will use it without regard for the long-term sustainability of that resource. You, your time, and your talents are precious resources - it is inefficient to place them in the commons.
This stewardship, this discipline, will help us develop more leaders, who will leverage your wisdom, put their shoulders to the wheel and propel the region, and your business into its destiny. Shared engagement: This is profitable to us all.
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Originally published in the St. Louis Business Journals Ask The Expert Column on 1/20/2023 by Orv Kimbrough, Chairman and CEO.