Great leadership is attainable. It isn’t reserved for a select few, sprinkled with some magic dust. It is within the grasp of each one of us. The resources are there. It just requires effort and commitment.
Let me illustrate with an unlikely but useful example: elevators (lifts, for our British readers).
Until recently, building a mile-high building has been technologically impossible. Now it’s possible. Why? The limiting factor was the elevator technology: no building could be built higher than its elevators could transport the people who lived or worked in it. But today, the technology to take elevators to new heights is now available.
It’s not surprising, then, to witness the excitement around the ground-breaking (or ceiling-breaking) technology that replaces steel with the much lighter carbon-fiber, thereby reducing the weight of the cables for a 1,300-foot elevator to six percent of their steel equivalent. Recently unveiled by Kone (a Finnish manufacturer http://download.kone.com/ultrarope/index.htm), this technology has architects and developers salivating at the prospect of building mile-high buildings. Skyscrapers can now scrape the sky much more aggressively.
And so it is with great leadership. Just as the technology is now available to build a mile-high skyscraper, the resources are available for greatness in leadership—a leadership that does indeed reach new heights. But the upfront cost is higher. It requires investing time and energy. It requires a willingness to reflect on your leadership and try new approaches. It requires getting out of your comfort zone. It requires an openness to reconsider that what worked for you in the past may not help you reach new heights now in your leadership.
The Cost of Leadership Development
The cost of great leadership development is deliberately, intentionally pursuing it, taking the time to become a student of great leadership. But that cost is worth it, and as you engage in the pursuit of great leadership, you will see how stimulating and rewarding it is. By becoming a student of great leadership, you will be installing the carbon fiber to take your leadership to new heights.
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.