What are you feeding your future leaders?

I am a freaking nutcase! No, I really am. I constantly believe that all of my employees have the potential to rule the world. I wish they could see their potential and know what I know.

Ask yourself, “what am I feeding my future leaders?” Because what you feed them will determine their future.

If someone had been willing to invest in me at the ripe old age of 25, I would have been retired by now, living on a private island and definitely not wearing pants.

I read constantly, but not necessarily for me. I’m always looking for THE book that will open someone else’s eyes to their own dreams and their locked-up, unrealized capabilities.

Most Baby Boomers are famous for having the best work ethic. If we just work hard enough, we can have whatever we want. I’m one of the last Baby Boomers (I was born in 1964), but I’m also a woman. When I was a child, protests and marches were going on so that I might have a shot at careers that were then mostly held by men.

Fast-forward to 2020. I am a woman serving the automotive industry. Although we’ve come a million miles with “The Women’s Movement”, the needle has not moved that much in the automotive sphere. But do I care? NO! I only care about delivering the best team of social media rock stars to serve dealerships on a daily basis.

Back to my initial point: how do I invest in my people and get them out of their own way? How do I help them realize their own strengths and overcome their weaknesses?

I just keep reading and looking for words that may help them. If I can’t get them to read, I make sure I relay the message of the book until they hear me.

One of my favorite places to begin is with business fiction books, because they’re easy reads for people who have not been readers in the past. I never want to set my people up for failure, so I start where we can make the most headway. Here are five of my favorites:

“The Travelers Gift”, by Andy Andrews.

This book is about the journey of David Ponder, whose life choices have taken him to a horribly dark place where he is unable to even support his family. But an icy road and a potentially fatal accident take him on a journey through history. He meets some great leaders that teach him important lessons he will take to heart.

“Atomic Habits” and/or “The Power of Habit”

Either one of these books will help you understand the Cue-Routine-Reward cycle. Once it is understood, you can take action to reprogram your mind to develop new habits and overwrite existing habits.

“Lean In”, by Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook

This one is for my female employees. In this book I discovered things that women do to push back from the table, even when they should be leaning in. The table can be a metaphor for many things – business, the boardroom, etc.

“A Happy Pocket Full of Money” by David Patrick Gikandi

If you believe in the Law of Attraction, this is a great book that will help you wrap your head around attracting money and eliminating limiting beliefs. I read this book several times a year.

“The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, by Patrick Lencioni

This business fable walks through an executive team and the dysfunctions that never get talked about. This book is one of the keys to success our company can point to. We read this book every year and remember the tools that help keep us on track.

My team and I are constantly looking for books that will help our team grow and reach their full potential. I had a goal to give away 100 books this year – and by the looks of my Amazon account, I’ve nearly succeeded. It makes me happy to share books that have meant the world to me. More importantly, I’m looking for exactly the right book for the specific leader I am looking to grow.

I pay particular attention to the emotional maturity of my team and never give them a book that will be too difficult to absorb. I want them to get as much as they can from every piece of knowledge that I hand to them, whether it is a podcast or an article, a video, or a book. But if I take the time to hand-select something for them, they had better consume it. I will ask for feedback, and I expect them to have retained some nuggets from the offering.

All of this goes back to creating a team of giants that can lead others down the same or a better path than they have been escorted down. We want develop future leaders with critical thinking skills and who realize that knowledge can be powerful.

So many, in this generation, have never had somebody invest in them and show them the path to business excellence. I take it as my personal challenge to grab their hands and show them they have much more potential than they’ve ever been told they have. In this age of entitlement, teaching the next generation how to earn their way in this world is my personal goal. The best way to do that is by educating them and showing them that there’s so much potential inside of them and that there’s no trophy for just showing up.

In a world where average is celebrated, I want to create business leaders who have the ability to create more business leaders. It all comes down to what you feed them, so pick their educational diet with care and feed them all the good stuff. 

I would love some feedback on the books I’ve suggested. If you have some that you share with your team on a regular basis, feel free to message me and let me know what they are. I’d love to give those to my team. I’m always looking for their next great read.

Robin Wilson is the co-owner of SCP Agency.

She is a self-proclaimed social media guru and specializes in social marketing for auto dealerships. She has also been instrumental in teaching auto dealerships how to market through social media to their existing database and shows them how to make sure that they do not become victims of conquest marketing. She is a marketing coach to all and has become a leader in Facebook marketing strategies in the U.S.