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2 May 2011,
Better Team

What Makes a Good Leader?

2 May 2011
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Has this ever happened to you? You have a great idea to do something. You think a bit more about it and it seems like a fantastic idea. You have to do it. In fact, you must do it. So you decide to do it and make a commitment. Unfortunately, half way into the process things are just not what you expected and your motivation to keep doing it just keeps getting smaller and smaller – until eventually you just stop doing whatever it is that great idea was.

It is well established that clarity plus the right actions will lead to success. So why then in this case when we had such a clear idea of what we anted to do and how to do it properly, we failed to achieve success?

A diagram of what Simon Sinek calls 'The Golde...

Simon Sinek, in his book “Start With Why” made an interesting point. He pointed out that the human brain understands logic clearly (the what it is we wanted to do). Everyone knows what they should do to get better results, they can get good clarity on that. When it comes to the how – how to do things better than others, how to be unique, how to deliver awesome service – some of us may find that concept to be a little fuzzy and unclear. When it comes to the why – that’s when things get a lot fuzzier. Why do we get up in the morning? Why do we do what we do?

It’s perfectly normal for people to start their thinking process with the what as the neo cortex part of our brains processes logic clearly. Our limbic brains on the inner part, is in charge of processing our feelings and emotions – and importantly has no capacity to process words. So it’s no surprise that most of us struggle to know what’s our why because we struggle to communicate it properly.

Interestingly, if we look at great leaders who have made great impact in the their communities be they individuals or organizations, they all think, act and communicate the same way. They all begin with a strong why – their purpose, their belief, the reason why they do what they do. Profits or money are merely results to them – not the main reason why the do what they do. Their why inspires them, inspire others and allow them to be inspired by others.

Here are some example of companies that are doing well despite the challenging industries they are in:

  • Southwest Airlines: “We democratize the skies and give people the freedom to fly.”
  • ING Direct: “We lead Americans back to savings.”
  • Google: “We organize the word’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
  • Facebook: “Giving people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”

Enjoy using the application of this concept in your life and businesses! I would love to see some examples from you here.

Marvin Suwarso

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