The founder and CEO of Lightbridge Academy shares what he’s learned over the past 25 years as a leader.
The path to leadership is not always easy. In fact, it rarely ever is. When someone is able to make it to the top, it’s important to reflect on his or her experience as a teachable moment. Take Guy Falzarano, CEO of Lightbridge Academy, who spent 25 years in the corporate world, starting his winding path in leadership by being promoted to supervisor at the age of 20. At an early age he was able to gain crucial leadership experience, sharpened by noting what he did and didn’t like in leaders above him. Falzarano is able to paint a clear picture of his path to leadership by narrowing it down to ten key tips, which he shared with 1851 Franchise.
Start with Why
“Why are you doing whatever it is you’re doing? If you can’t answer that, you are going to have a hard time moving in the forward direction. To be a leader, you need to be passionate about what you are doing and nothing short of that.”
Definitiveness of Purpose
“Set your course, set your goals, and then hold yourself accountable. For example, I love to sail, but I will never get on a sailboat without knowing where exactly I am headed. A lot of people are at their job and they are working, but they don’t know where exactly they want the work they are doing to take them. Have an end goal instead of sailing with no destination.”
“Be passionate about what you do. There are very few leaders that feel neutral about their cause. People follow people that are passionate about their end goal.”
“Know the field that you are in. When I started with Lightbridge, I had no idea what I was doing. I had very minimal knowledge or experience with child-care. I researched and met with experts in the sector that were able to educate me on what I didn’t know, and I was able to educate them on what they didn’t know. Over the years, I’ve built a specialized knowledge of what this business is all about.”
Unwavering Belief in Yourself
“Be decisive. I always go back to the example of Alexander the Great. When he landed in Persia he had 20,000 men and the Persians had 40,000 people. Alexander burnt all of the boats and stated you either go forward and you win or you go back and get pushed into the sea and die. I use the “burn the boats” mentality in life. There are always going to be roadblocks and potholes along the way. People will look and say they have to turn back, but if you have a burning desire, you will find your way around these challenges.”
Do the Right Thing
“This is one of Lightbridge Academy’s main core values. As a leader, it’s important to establish core values so you can determine the way you want to live your life, and then live it that way. You don’t have to worry about remembering what you said to someone and if you are following through, because you should always be telling the truth. It ends up removing a lot of unneeded pressure in life. If your core values aren’t working for you, you can change them, but you should have them because they are your moral compass.”
Attitude of Excellence
“If you’re going to develop a product or service that people will want to buy, you have to be excellent in developing the product or service. It is not acceptable to cut corners or take short cuts, because the product will begin to deteriorate. Hold yourself and everyone else involved in the making accountable.”
Attitude of Gratitude
“Pay it forward and be thankful for all of your blessings--it makes you humble. When you’re humble you are also vulnerable. People feel more comfortable with someone who is real, someone who is vulnerable.”
Positive Thoughts All Day, Every Day
“Those who think and wait for bad things to happen to them, typically have bad things happen to them. I am a firm believer that if you take a positive approach in life the universe will return the favor and bring you positive things.”
Five Magic Words
“Keep moving forward and never quit. As long as you keep moving towards your goals and never quit, the options are endless.
Above all, remember the path to leadership is about the journey, not the destination. A lot of people are waiting for that perfect moment in their future. The moment they can finally relax or retire. I’ve always taken the approach that I am going to enjoy my life while I’m going through it, every single day.”