Leaders aren’t Born. Leaders are Made.

May 7, 2019 | Accelerate, Leadership Lounge

By Mush Khan

My first job as a leader was when I was 23 years old. To say I didn’t know what I was doing is an understatement. Throughout the years, my journey as a leader has taken many turns. Sometimes, I found a good way to do something but, often, I just stumbled through my days and made things up as best I could. Over time, I refined some leadership practices and just got lucky on some other ideas. I made progress, got promotions, made a little money, and began to define my success by my ability to transform a business. It felt good in some respects, but I suspected there was something more. It never really led to a deep sense of accomplishment or meaningfulness for me.

About 20 years into my career, I was running a reasonably sized company, O’Rourke Petroleum. It was the first time I was running a large, growing, and complex business. And, for the first time, all my lessons and rules I’d developed just didn’t seem to work that well as I strained to keep up with what the company was becoming. I resorted to white knuckling it, working harder, putting in longer hours, and pushing my team more. While we continued to grow as a business, it began to take a toll in several ways: in some ways on me, but mostly on my team because I was nearing the envelope as a leader.

That began to change about 9 years ago when I was first introduced to Kimberly Cutchall and the team at Accendo. Our first engagement was pretty straight forward: an assessment of my leadership team and our overall organizational performance. A few months into the work with Accendo, I began to understand the real purpose of the work with them: not that my team should improve; rather, I had to be better as a leader. It was my abilities, my skills, and especially my mindset that had to improve if I wanted to achieve the kind of success I wanted – for me, my team, and our organization. This began a long-term journey with the Accendo team. I knew they were the catalyst to help me… and my team… be better.

Over the last 9 years, my consistent work with Accendo has spanned four companies and has covered everything from leadership development to sales acceleration to strategic alignment to overall performance improvement. While that work has created success in terms of traditional business performance metrics such as revenue growth, margin improvement, and stronger and more engaged teams, I think the most important outcome has been that I’ve become what I’ve always wanted. To grow as a leader but, more importantly, as a person. I’ve not become something different, I’ve become me, only better. Thanks to my Accendo partners and Happy 10th Anniversary.



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