ACCA XL Conference – Extreme Leadership Keynote

We are participating in the ACCA XL Conference this week at the Broadmoore in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This conferences marks the 40th year for ACCA’s annual event of helping HVAC contractors grow their business, support their employees and keep abreast of the industry’s top trends. The keynote speaker, Steve Farber, kicked off the show yesterday with his speech about Extreme Leadership. We have summarized his speech below so you too can benefit from “being here”.

Farber showed us there are four key areas to extreme leadership:  Love, Energy, Audacity and Proof.

Love – While Farber is a serious leadership speaker, his approach to delivering somewhat “heavy” material in a light manner was clear in his first must have element to extreme leadership. Love isn’t something that’s discuss often in the workplace, especially among men. Farber argues it has to begin with love. He challenges you to ask yourself “Why do I love this ____(work)_______ and how do I show it?”. Leadership begins with you and why you get out of bed and do what you do each day. Answering this question should come easy, if not evaluate why. Farber proves through other’s extensive research that love truly is present in the workplace and all successful people are that way, and great leaders, because they love what they do.

Energy – You have met those people who completely drain the life out of you, or a room, and likewise, those individuals who walk in a room and the energy level rises. Which are you? Which are more fun to work with and be around? Which are more inspiring as a leader? Farber noted three major corporations as extreme leadership examples:  Gillette, Huggies and The Container Store. Gillette has a role where the individual’s job is to come to work each morning and shave. This guy tests the good, and the bad, new products Gillette considers to market. He bleeds at work so you don’t have to at home. Isn’t that nice of him? That’s true energy and passion for our job. Farber points out the culture and the leaders need to know and create excitement about their work. His challenging question for this element of extreme leadership is “What’s exciting about the work that I/we really do?” He challenges you to go beyond that normal answer and really find an exciting outcome that you and your employee’s can really get behind.

Audacity – The importance of this element is to have a bold and blatant disregard for normal constraints in order to change the world for the better. He tells us a story about the Hallmark Senior Care facility and how they make sure their residents, at the ages of 70+, find ways to be audacious in living out the rest of their lives. They have incorporated an annual mission trip to Guatemala to work with children. Individuals as old as 91 years of age have participated on this trip and created a better place for the children of Guatemala. This proves any company can place their mark on their corner of the marketplace for truly going beyond the normal constraints and change the world for a better place.

Proof – The proof is in your actions. Farber did an exercise somewhat like Simon Says and asked the audience to touch their chin while he touched his cheek. Guess where 99% of the audience touched? Their cheek. Actions speak louder than words and as a leader, your actions are monitored and digested by your entire team. You cannot do one thing and say another. Your team will eventually get confused and determine it’s not in their best interest to follow you vs developing their own conclusions.

To wrap it up, Farber shared his OS!M policy, which is to push yourself enough and often to create Oh S*** Moments for yourself. If you’re not getting a little concerned or fearful of your next leadership step, you’re not pushing yourself to achieve and do more. Fear is good when planned out and methodically handled. Push yourself.

Thank you to ACCA for providing yet another great key speaker to kick off another informative week of helping us all make ourselves a little bit better.

Updated: July 16, 2012 — 10:03 am

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