Are You A Greatness Architect? March 2009
Seminar after seminar, when we ask people to identify great individuals, almost everyone identifies great people who fall into two distinct categories. First, are those who are historically great -- well-known heroes, saints, and geniuses. Participants in our seminars list everyone from Abraham Lincoln to Mother Theresa. In the second category are those who have helped others achieve personal greatness. Our participants usually nominate teachers, coaches, big brothers/sisters and parents as “great” specifically because they’ve helped others. We call these people “Greatness Architects” because they help design and build ways for others to strive for and then reach personal greatness.
Over the past nine years our studies have shown that while many of us might like to go down in history as great, this is unlikely to happen. It is not that we’re incapable, it’s that history is fickle. However, all of us can help others achieve personal greatness even as we strive to achieve our own personal greatness. Each of us can be remembered as a “Greatness Architect.”
What does it take to be a Greatness Architect? Take the example of Linda and Millard Fuller, co-founders of Habitat for Humanity. Although they also achieved a modicum of historical greatness, they’re wonderful models of Greatness Architects. Millard recently died, but Linda continues to help others. The Fullers focused on others and helped them achieve their goals, but that’s not the sole reasons we consider them Greatness Architects rather than great philanthropists. They did not just “give away” resources, time and energy, they offered assistance aimed at empowering others. Millard and Linda were conscious that they had to imbue those they helped with a sense of self-worth, self-discipline, and self-efficacy. These are the traits greatness architects try to develop in others.
We believe greatness architects employ four disciplines to foster greatness in those they assist: 1) honor, 2) focus, 3) ownership and 4) empowerment.
By highlighting honor, greatness architects help support and sustain the person they assist. They honor that person’s uniqueness and foster independence, not dependence. Greatness architects shift the focus away from themselves, often taking little or no credit. They focus on the person growing into his or her own greatness. The greatness architect’s focus on the person never wavers. A greatness architect generates a sense of ownership and pride in those they encourage. Whatever greatness is achieved does not belong to the architect but the person who has done the work of building. Through their efforts Greatness Architects seek to empower people with skills to continue developing long after the architect is gone. They do not abandon individuals to their fate, but consciously ensure they have the skills and desire to see their greatness emerge and grow.
Greatness architects are the parents, teachers, coaches and professionals who try to bring out the best in others. Are you a greatness architect?
The Greatness ProjectTM is researched and written by:
Scott Asalone & Jan Sparrow
Copyright © ASGMC, Inc. 2009