20 in 2020: Believership


Another in my 20 in 2020 series. Believership: The Superpower Beyond Leadership, by Mike Vacanti.

Author and speaker Mike Vacanti tells a great story about his life journey in Believership, and transitions into his work with HumansFirst Club and much more.

A Portion of the Summary from Amazon:

0-3“Believership brings a good heart, inclusion, diversity and caring to leadership, lifting others through choice rather than command. We have a leadership crisis. We can do better. Identification and selection of leaders is based on a flawed myth. Our heritage of prescriptive authority is proving harmful. People are, tired, broken and scared, lowering our human capacity to an alarming level, at a time when change is more rapid and more significant than any time in history. We are not preparing people for the journey ahead.”

“Great leaders are unique individuals with a myriad of personalities, skills and characteristics. So are each of your employees. Honoring each person’s unique talent is the powerful differentiator for future success, looking beyond similarities and exploring what happens when you embrace the unique gifts of each individual, unleashing their superpower. Believership is a higher form of leadership, igniting purpose and the power of many moving in the same direction. While leadership forges a path, Believership becomes a paved road for many to travel together.”


My Take:

I will not tell you the whole story, but if you are a leader you should definitely read this book! I just finished it during the safer-at-home order, mostly away from my team at the UW-Madison where I supervise print production, and one particular section really made me think about my leadership journey and the dedication to providing my staff with the type of experience I always craved for as an employee. Chapter six was about superpowers, and my favorite excerpt follows:

There is no normal.

You may try to weave a common thread through the admired leaders of today, especially in business, but there is no normal. When we look through the narrow, foggy lens of organizational norms rooted in the past, however, we understand it is ridiculous to even ponder the absurdity of normal.

Norms are limitations. Like comfort food for our brains, we subconsciously crave what is normal. While perhaps it’s comforting, we don’t need it, and it’s not our best choice. Greatness is abnormal and, at times, seemingly reckless. In all cases, great leaders fight the constraints forced upon them and move forward with resolve. People believe in them or what they are doing or what they stand for, and attach themselves, with commitment. It’s not a lead and follow situation. It’s with. When Believership is present, people align with the leader.

How timely is that given our current pandemic and separation from our teams? The fact that great leadership rises above the physical location we normally work within and moves to the relationship we have with our team is so important these days. When your team is aligned with you, they will continue to perform in remote environments, they will continue the mission of the organization, and they will have their supervisor’s back when great leaders fight the constraints forced upon them and move forward with resolve.

At this point in our nation and in business, I think we all are starting to understand it is ridiculous to even ponder the absurdity of normal. The new normal after COVID-19 will be very different than pre-COVID. But our vision of 2020, though quite different from our January predictions, will still include and require great leadership and Believership. Pick up a copy of Believership today to start your journey.

Also check out the HumansFirst Club website! HumansFirst Club is a global group of leaders, influencers and collaborators voluntarily sharing a mission to inspire positive change, fueling growth, maturity and sustainability through stories, experiences and open-dialog.

Screen Shot 2020-05-26 at 10.16.25 AM

This inspiring consortium is centered on an exceptional belief in human capacity and potential. These global events, collaboration platform and learning opportunities will infuse brilliant dialog, exploration and evidential review of successful strategies, transformations and endeavors. Participants will be fueled with optimism and curiosity, becoming empowered to Ignite and Accelerate A Shift In Business Culture to Value Humans First.

Mike hangs out with many of my connections on LI, including Melissa Hughes, Kevin Monroe, Kimberly Davis, Heather Younger, Amy Blaschka, and many more powerhouse leaders.


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