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We recently attended Leadercast, a Global day-long leadership conference that brings in thought-provoking speakers to get our brains moving. This is our third year attending this event and I can honestly say that it’s one that will forever be part of our company culture. Leadership lies within each and every person within the group. You may perceive the leader as the front man or woman, the manager or the owner. But in reality, every person on every team has the opportunity to be a leader for someone. The way we respond to our peers, the way we present ourselves and the way we perform our work; it all involves leadership to some degree.

I absorbed so many incredible tidbits of valuable information that day, but one 40 min speech, in particular, stood out to me. Mr. James Brown came out and blew me away. No, the Godfather of Soul himself didn’t come back from the dead. James is a Network Broadcaster for NBC Sports and News. He didn’t talk about football or sports. He talked about building a foundation, how to succeed up you must first build a strong foundation.

He used an example that I will forever remember. The Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. stands 555 feet tall. It is strong, regal and stable. It never sways, bends or moves. How is this possible? How does something so tall not sway with the strong winds? How does it weather the heavy storms and withstand hundreds of thousands of visitors every year? What most people do not see are the four stories of the foundation that are supporting the Monument underground.

As an entrepreneur, we often see the real success of other entrepreneurs. We wonder how they withstand the growing pains and weather the storms. What we’re often not taking time to see are the four stories of the foundation that have been built underneath of them.

James told us, “Depth before height.”

James also told us that people often look for leaders with character and integrity. But the best leaders have character, integrity and a strong foundation.

How can you dig deeper into your business? How can you lay a more solid foundation for yourself and your team? Opportunities can only stand tall on top of the solid foundation you have built. Work together. Communicate. Visualize both with yourself and as a team. If you feel like you’re digging in the trenches, good. That means you’re actively working on digging that beautiful four-story foundation for your monument.

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