Michelangelo’s Lesson: Don’t Put A Ceiling On Your Thinking

Sheila Madden, CEO, Madden Coaching & Consulting

One of the best leadership books ever written is the biography of Michelangelo, The Agony and The Ecstasy by Irving Stone. Michelangelo’s life is a roadmap for extraordinary leadership:   the vision, the passion of purpose, the uncompromising commitment to integrity, the navigating of politics with the popes, the relentless drive for perfection and the ceaseless energy in creating the visions he saw or heard within himself, in marble and on ceilings!

Here is an extraordinary thought to consider from Michelangelo (1475-1564):  

“The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it”.  

What results can you create for your organization by applying this thinking?

  1. Win the War for Talent. It is as fierce as we have ever seen. To attract the best, you had better be the best. You only get there with BIG ideas, thoughts and abilities
  2. Create new products, services and markets. Organization cultures that aim high blow the doors off “what is” and innovate what has never been dreamed of before and they WIN
  3. Inspire, engage and enable peak performance, consistently

What can you do right now to put this extraordinary thought to work?

Honestly answer these questions:  

  • Where are you aiming too low?
  • What impact is it having on what you /your organization are achieving?
  • What is possible if you changed your thinking?
  • What will you do right now to shift to extraordinary thinking?  

Set the standard for extraordinary thinking in your organization

  • Communicate it as a requirement
  • Coach people to achieve it. (Don’t forget that this requires a culture of ‘productive failure’…more about that later)
  • Challenge pessimism disguised as “caution”

Measure this quality in your interview and hire process and in your talent reviews

None of us will ever achieve what we do not have the courage to dream or the passion to pursue.

This entry was posted in Extraordinary Thinking: Leadership Insights From The Masters & Mystics. Bookmark the permalink.

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