Despite innumerable leadership theories, models and the training that goes with them, effective leaders are still in short supply. I say this because numerous studies have shown that when it comes to developing and executing businessl strategy, which is the main task of leadership, the failure rate is huge, somewhere in the region of 70%.
Why is that? In my opinion, it’s because the majority of leaders fail to actually lead. Too often, people in leadership positions bow to the majority…they expect that those they lead will provide them with the answers to the Vision question. And these leaders do so in the name of collaboration, consensus building, engagement, and the likes.
In other words, they try to delegate vision making. It can’t be done.
Most successful leaders have had to personally show the way forward, whether they were dealing with a BIG CRISIS or pursuing a BIG IDEA. Overcoming a big crisis or achieving a big idea became their cause. They then rallied people around that cause. Those they rallied, were given enough latitude to come up with innovative solutions, and then were charged with implementing them.
Think Fred Smith of FedEx with overnight parcel delivery, or the late Steve Jobs with various technological innovations such as the iPhone and iPad, Richard Branson with Virgin Atlantic, Jeff Bezos with Amazon…the list goes on. In fact these leaders had their share of big crises, but they never let a crisis define them as a leader. They always came bouncing back with a big idea.
So if you truly want to be a leader, what’s YOUR BIG IDEA?