Digging for Gold . . .or Digging Up Dirt?

As I was researching some classic examples of leadership, I came across this entry from studentlinc.net . It got me wondering about the following point that is emphasized as to how do those in leadership positions approach their roles? The story is told of Andrew Carnegie:

“Andrew Carnegie, a poor immigrant from Scotland, was one of the great business leaders of the early 20th century in America. He is an American success story, rising from bobbin boy and telegraph operator to multi-millionaire steel magnate by the age of 40.

“How did he rise so quickly? Besides investing and using new technology wisely, Carnegie surrounded himself with intelligent and successful people.

“And he knew the value of delegation.

“At one point, Carnegie employed forty-three millionaires (quite a feat in the 1930’s). When asked how he had managed to attract and hire all of them, Carnegie responded that they weren’t millionaires when they began working for him.

“He explained further, ‘Men are developed the same way gold is mined. Several tons of dirt must be moved to get an ounce of gold. But you don’t go into the mine looking for dirt,’ he added. “You go in looking for gold.”

“Andrew Carnegie was an expert in “mining” the “gold” in those who worked for him.”

Mining for gold versus looking for dirt. It seems, unfortunately, that there are far too many that are in positions of leadership that would rather look for dirt on someone. They see only the negative, through criticism, micromanaging, or poor politics, and never sift for the good in people. It’s no wonder why these folks never find gold, they don’t move the dirt out of the way, make the nugget the goal, and refine it in order to make it shine and be more precious and valuable.

Dear leader, what are you doing, today, to look for the gold? Move the dirt – the barriers and the behaviors – away and start harvesting a load of future leaders that shine for years to come. Then maybe one day, you’ll be privileged to have a protegé like Andrew Carnegie did:

“One excellent example of Carnegie’s “goldmining” was Charles Schwab, who started at the bottom in one of his steel mills. Carnegie and his associates recognized Schwab’s ability, and moved him quickly into leadership. By 1897, Schwab was president of Carnegie Steel. Carnegie was still involved in the business, but delegated most of the responsibility and authority to Schwab. Together, they arranged to sell the company to J.P. Morgan in 1901.”

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About Paul LaRue

My goal - To encourage you to lead & influence others with positive impact.

Posted on October.19.2013, in Character-based Leadership, Culture, Leadership, Leadership Development, Mentorship and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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