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Lesson Number 1 – Leaders Must Have The Right Mindset

Dr. Santarvis Brown has spent 15+ years serving as a leader, innovator, and changemaker in education, showcasing in-depth insight as an administrator, educator, and program director.

Executive Contributor Santarvis Brown

After all of my years in leadership, I’d like to think I have a pretty good handle on the ins and outs of being a dynamic and effective leader. From taking risks to building loyal relationships with employees, I’ve seen many of the best strategies in play. Today I want to share with you some inspiration from an unlikely source. Dr. Seuss’ book “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” has some truly fantastic advice in it for many areas of life. This includes leadership.

Business woman in pink talking to team

Let’s look at how leaders can get into the right mindset with a few simple lines from the book: "Congratulations! Today is your day. You're off to Great Places! You're off and away!"

Embracing the journey

If there is one piece of advice you take from this post, let it be the importance of embracing the journey. Sometimes we are too focused on reaching our destination that we completely forget to actively experience the sometimes-winding path we follow. As Dr. Seuss says, “You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!” These words, as they pertain to leadership, express the importance of being prepared for anything and enjoying little moments as they come.

Leadership isn’t only about reaching destinations, in other words, but also the steps we take to get there. The twists, the turns, the ups, and the downs all help shape our mindset and act like a compass, guiding leaders through adversity and triumph alike.

Finding the potential for growth

Another area where mindset plays a big role in leadership success is finding the potential for growth in every situation. Whether things went perfectly, or you ended up embarrassed, the ability to recover from unexpected experiences is crucial. A positive mindset fuels leader resilience. This allows leaders to persevere in the face of obstacles. When setbacks occur, leaders with the right perspectives can view them not as failures, but as opportunities for growth and learning. They understand that setbacks are not roadblocks but detours on the path to success.

Even if your journey is a difficult or unexpected one, remember that every destination has the potential to be a “great place”. Taking the time to see the good in every situation can help you develop a dynamic leadership style ready to handle surprises with ease.

Leaders building corporate culture

Finally, your mindset helps shape the culture of your organization. A leader's attitude, beliefs, and values influence the rest of your team, setting your employees up for either success or disaster. Promoting a culture of optimism, resilience, and growth allows leaders to create an environment where everyone feels empowered to take risks, learn from their failures, and strive for excellence in all that they do.

With the right mindset and approach, leaders can shape their corporate values to guide their work and decisions.

As you can see, while you might not instinctively turn to Dr. Seuss for leadership advice, his words hold a lot of wisdom. Do your best to see every experience as a learning opportunity and appreciate the stops and detours along the way. Even these unexpected places can be great!


Santarvis Brown, Leadership Engineer

Dr. Santarvis Brown has spent 15+ years serving as a leader, innovator, and changemaker in education, showcasing in-depth insight as an administrator, educator, and program director. A noted speaker, researcher, and full professor, he has lent his speaking talent to many community and educational forums, serving as a keynote speaker. He has also penned several publications tackling issues in civic service, faith, leadership, and education.



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