10 Steps Gutsy Leaders Take

Six reasons leaders wimp out:

  1. Avoiding conflict.
  2. Striving for certainty.
  3. Avoiding career risk. (Butt kissing)
  4. Lack of self-confidence.
  5. Lack of urgency.
  6. Protecting your turf.

Two results of wimpy leadership:

  1. Leaders that won’t make decisions and can’t turn people down create operational complexity.
  2. Insecure leaders that decide everything by consensus innovate slowly.

Ten steps gutsy leaders take:

  1. Devise demanding game plans to confront reality. Isolate one or two high impact organizational changes that confront reality. Develop vision, strategies, and measures that define success.
  2. Go with the best people. Create appraisal systems that identify performance levels. Aggressively develop top talent.
  3. Clean up operational sloppiness. Cut bureaucracy, minimize layers, and maximize spans of authority. Develop single points of responsibility with clear measures of success.
  4. Institutionalize tight-fisted cost control. Focus finances on high impact projects and minimize low impact, slow moving initiatives.
  5. Insist on functional excellence. Avoid order takers. Look for people with push back. Focus efforts for high impact.
  6. Create a culture of innovation. Constantly look for bright ideas that provide significant improvement. Protect innovators so they are free to fail.
  7. Demand accountability and decisiveness; avoid consensus. Spreading responsibility across several individuals encourages self-protective behaviors. Bad results can be spread across several people. Create single points of responsibility.
  8. Exploit inflection points. Watch for new technologies and emerging customers.
  9. Value ideas from anywhere. Embrace and honor good ideas regardless of their origin. However, partnerships with organizations outside your control may lower commitment.
  10. Shake up the organization. Bring in fresh talent and reorganize around new efforts.

The most important thing bold leaders do is devise demanding game plans that confront reality. The other nine principles support number one.


Which gutsy step do you find most challenging?


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