Posted April 14th, 2011 in Culture & Leadership by William DeMarco

I once had a not so unique client that had an obsession.  In this case, it was all about “being number one”.   For all intents and purposes, this was their culture of leadership in the here and now.  To all the members of the executive team, this obsession became a mantra. Sounds like a pretty good obsession to have!  The problem was the term “number one” fundamentally meant different things to all the key players:.  finance – profitability, marketing – market share, research – patents, engineering – innovation, sales – volume, and so on.

It is sometimes not possible or practical to achieve all those goals at the same time, no matter how meaningful they may be.  In some cases,  like sales volume and profitability they may even work at cross purposes, when product price is too low.  Goals cry out for a common understanding; in this case to increase the odds of achieving the number one goal of “being number one”.

The word  LEADERSHIP is like this.  It fails to mean the same thing to all its devotees. Yet, it remains one of the most commonly used words in business parlance.  Here’s a definition of leadership I have used successfully for some years now.  You may find it useful as well.

LEADERSHIP is giving purpose to collective effort while inspiring willing effort in support of that purpose!

I will be writing and speaking more about this in upcoming postings.  In the meantime, here is a video you may find helpful as you think about what this definition means to you. Meaningful reflections.  -Dr. Bill DeMarco

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