Dr. CUMMINGS: Be a leader

May 26, 2013 

Middle Georgians: do you know what we need the most? Leaders. Middle Georgia is full of followers -- hundreds and thousands of them -- but where have all the Leaders gone?

We’re milling around like ants on an ant hill, with no Queen Ant inside. I’m not talking about government leaders; I’m not talking about military leaders; I’m not even talking about religious or school leaders. We can always talk about them. I’m talking about us. You and me. Ordinary people living ordinary lives who read the Sunday paper and enjoy the day off.

We have the opportunity to lead every day, but we don’t take it. We can lead at work, and not be the boss. We can lead at home and not be a dictator. We can lead in our clubs and our churches and our local towns, if we want to. All we need are three things:

ONE, A VISION: Pick one thing you’d like to change; one thing you’re really passionate about. When this topic comes up in conversation, you always jump in with statistics and history and solutions.

Maybe it’s the crime rate; maybe it’s the number of teenage pregnancies or the number of high school dropouts. Maybe it’s a neighborhood watch. Maybe it’s breast cancer or dyslexia.

Whatever it is, try to “peel the onion” to arrive at the root cause of this problem. Once you have the root cause, you need to define exactly what you want to do.

TWO, A TEAM: This is not a team of followers. This is a team of like-minded, trusted friends who will become fellow leaders with you. Business people do this all the time: it’s called top management. The president of the United States picks his Cabinet. A football coach picks his starting lineup.

You need to pick a group of men or women or both who are just as committed to this vision as you are, and moreover (and this is very important) they “have your back.” All of you begin immediately to recruit your followers: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your vision will spread.

THREE, A SCOREBOARD: You don’t have to buy an Electro-Mech Scoreboard (although that’s the best) but you do have to keep score. You have to measure your progress to success, and everybody has to be able to see it clearly. However, don’t make the mistake of measuring just the end of the game: win or lose. How boring would the football game be without each touchdown? You’ll want to measure each small step on the way to the goal line, and let it light up the scoreboard for all to see.

• Your vision is to change the way ADHD children are taught in kindergarten. You have researched this problem and found that many teachers want the child drugged to the tune of $176 per month. You have come up with a different solution that really works, but you can’t get the schools to listen.

• Your team becomes a group of former and current kindergarten teachers who agree with you and want the school system to try your method. You set your goal at 50 percent of the kindergartens in your district, and all of you begin spreading the word through social media and parent/teacher meetings and letters to the superintendent.

• Your scoreboard measures how many meetings your team has attended, how many tweets and Facebook likes you have received, and then finally how many teachers have tried out your method, until you reach the 50 percent mark.

This is what leaders do. All the great things that have been accomplished in Middle Georgia -- and around the world -- have been put in place by leaders with a vision and a team. You can be a leader too, if you want.

Dr. Bill Cummings is the CEO of Cummings Consolidated Corporation and Cummings Management Consultants. His website is digitallydrc.com.

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