I have sometimes been told that in an age of sound bites and short attention spans, it’s hard to get leaders to think. That’s not been my experience, but here is the key: when leaders are given a framework to think about leadership, they think well and deeply—and very practically.
Henri Bergson put it well and succinctly: “Think like a man of action, and act like a man of thought.”… because how we act as a leader will depend on how we think like a leader. Great leadership is a combination of thought and action.
But to think well requires a framework – something that pulls together the multitude of confusing and sometimes contradictory elements of leadership. Now that may sound too simple… does a framework for great leadership really make that much of a difference? Absolutely … a huge one. Here’s what it will do for you:
You will make sense of the complexity of leadership. You will connect the dots between the different disciplines of leadership. You will apply the right approach to the right context.
You will understand organizations in a new way. Not just the one you are in currently, but any future one you will be part of.
You will identify the critical skill sets you need for the particular challenges you face in your current leadership role.
You will also understand what is required for positions you are aspiring to. When you get there, you won’t be surprised.
You will read and learn proactively and appropriately, not randomly and haphazardly. You will know what books to read and what resources to use—you will make sense of the extraordinary volume of business literature available. You will develop your own personal leadership development curriculum.
You will clarify your leadership message. As you craft your message, you will develop your own set of principles about leadership. Few leaders give the time they need to craft their message, and most leaders underestimate the amount of airtime their message requires.
You will know how to apply the framework to any leadership context.
And you will avoid the pitfalls that derail promising careers. You may possibly save your career—and your long-term impact.
In short, you will be able to understand, exercise, and teach great leadership.
Leaders stand or fall not so much by their talent – or lack of it – but by their understanding or misunderstanding of what great leadership is. Talent is overrated… the disciplined application of a sound framework is highly underrated.
After graduating from a business and engineering school in the UK, Antony worked in production management for a British textile company. He then completed his Masters in European Economics and Business Institutions at the University of Strasbourg, France. He worked as a sales manager for a Swiss company, and then started the division in Eastern France for a Dutch brokerage business.
In all this, Antony’s interest was in developing leaders, and after he came to the US in the late 80’s, he worked as a subcontractor for a training organization. He worked with hundreds of people in many different organizations, helping them lead and change their organizations. It was during this time he was struck by the confusion around leadership and how many leaders were struggling with the challenge of leading in very complex environments. Antony’s pursuit became one of finding a way that would help them the most make sense of the confusion, and that led to the creation of LeaderDevelopment, Inc. (LDI) and the subsequent development of the LDI Leadership Framework.