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From RuBBer to RuDDer

My father-in-law was a great man who enjoyed telling stories. Or maybe it would be more appropriate to say that he loved embellishing stories. That means he told the truth, but made it sound even better. He loved the way that he could humorously introduce me - and before I tell you how, it is important for you to know a little more of my background. My

technical degree is in chemical engineering; and most of my career I worked as a rubber chemist. I was responsible for the chemicals involved with the recipes to make rubber belt products. And my father-in-law’s favorite (ie. embellished) way to introduce me: “Here’s my son(in-law) who makes rubbers.” (LOL)


ruBBer Industry -

Rubber is the original industry that I served. My role or basic title was Compounder. I compounded or formulated rubber recipes for the rubber belt market - both industrial and automotive applications. There is a rubber belt that runs the accessories (ie. A/C, engine cooling fan, power steering, you get the picture, right?)


It has now been 7+ months since I left my corporate job. While contemplating the 33 years of that corporate life - it is a blur. I learned a lot; and it provided many opportunities. And though I spent many years working “rubbers,” I spent most of my personal time learning and studying the values that make leadership more significant than management. I read leadership books, took notes and filed lots of information.


ruDDer History -

Today, I serve the “ruDDer” industry. On a boat, the rudder is the part of a sailboat that actually steers the boat from under the water. Sure the captain’s wheel is part of the process, but the wheel itself does not steer the boat - it is only through the connections to the rudder that actually control the rudder to steer the boat.


Just as a leader helps steer a company, so does a rudder help steer the boat. The rudder is part of the steering process; and a leader is part of the steering process. One of my favorite leadership growth experiences was being able to learn and share John Maxwell’s 5 Levels of Leadership. Brilliant! And Simple! (Developing the Leader Within You, 2.0)


There are 5 levels of leadership.

I call this P’s and R’s. Each level is named with a “P” word, and then described with an “R” word. I love this! This is what I like about the way John Maxwell teaches leadership - he “puts the cookies on the bottom shelf” so we all can catch the meaning and pass the message on because it is easy to grasp - like cookies!

  1. The bottom level is Position. It is at this level that you have the RIGHT to lead, and be boss. People follow you because they have to.

  2. The second level is Permission. This level is where you build RELATIONSHIPS in order to lead. People follow you because they want to.

  3. The middle level is Production. A person at this level gets RESULTS. People follow because of what you have done for the organization.

  4. The next level is significant because it is about People Development. This is the REPRODUCTION stage where people follow because of what you have done for them.

  5. The ultimate level is the Pinnacle. One gets to this level due to RESPECT. People follow because of who you are and what you represent.

Level 1 is the level that we can “achieve” on our own merits. When we get a promotion, this gives us a title. It is at this level that many think, “I have arrived! I am a leader!” While this achievement is worthy of congratulations, many already understand that this level is not all that it may seem to be. This is the point where we discover how difficult being “boss” really is. I’ve seen people get excited about moving from one title to another (Assistant Manager I to Assistant Manager II) - can you imagine the big deal? (Hopefully, :) you don’t - You see that there is No Big Deal, moving from title “I” to “II.” It’s only a “position!”


Level 2 through Level 4 is what people grant you. You must build relationships with people before they “want to” follow you (Level 2). And you must produce results, even within a recent time frame, for people to recognize that you are valuable to them, and thus performing as a Level 3 person. However, my favorite is the Level 4 position. When people follow you due to what you have done for them - you know you have not only reached a level of success, but more importantly, you have reached a level of significance!


Level 5 is based on the lifetime of contributions that you have made; and truly becoming significant to many people and their impacted lives. This is for people like Mother Teresa, Rev. Billy Graham, Mt Rushmore candidates (Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt).


If you or your team is interested in growing better leadership (we don’t do management) techniques, methods and processes. We have tools to serve your growth. Contact your Leadership Harbor “Thinking Partner” today - your team deserves the best!


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