Legitimate Leadership

Leader.  This word is generally used to describe people in positions of authority and influence; however, despite its proliferation as a label “true leadership” is actually an endangered species.    True leaders are exceptional men and women who people WANT to follow.  Regardless of title, status or position, they inspire others and enroll them into a greater purpose that transforms organizations, social structures, and individuals.  In this presentation, I share the five traits all true leaders have and provide a framework that audience members can use to shape their own leadership style.

Presentation Outline

Using examples from my own experience as well as relevant case studies I explain that all true leaders share five characteristics:

  1.  True Leaders Are Visionaries. When Steve Jobs recruited John Scully to join Apple in its infancy he didn’t ask him to join a “computer company”, he challenged him to come and help “change the world”.  True leaders have a vision that goes far beyond the next earnings report.  They see a world that doesn’t exist yet.  Furthermore, they have an intense burning desire to cut a path to that new world.
  1. True Leaders Are Story Tellers. Using stories to inspire go back to the earliest days of mankind. True Leaders recognize and harness this power to enroll others in their vision.  They don’t talk in terms of earnings or growth, rather they share a story of an exceptional organization that serves a cause beyond just profits.  This narrative galvanizes others, both internally and externally, around the higher purpose and propels the organization to greater heights.  For an example of this look no farther than Zappos.
  1. True Leaders Have Courage. Vision and new ideas necessitate change. People hate change and resist it with all of their might.  Throughout history, great leaders have faced fierce opposition to their revolutionary objectives.  It cost Martin Luther King his life, Jobs was ousted from the company he created, and Nelson Mandela spent over a quarter of his life in prison.  True leaders have the courage to stand behind their ideas, whether it be a cutting-edge process or a morally advanced society, leaders need the courage to push through the resistance.
  1. True Leaders Are Networkers. No man or woman accomplishes great things by themselves.  True leaders build strong networks of talent that help them attain their visions.  More importantly, this network consists of individuals who are strong in areas where the leader is weak.  This allows them to “keep their eye on the prize” and not get bogged down in areas outside of their core competency.
  1. True Leaders Have Integrity. There is hardly a company, organization or (believe it or not) politician that doesn’t laud the value of integrity. However, in reality, few people and organizations really exhibit authentic integrity (Enron, whose unethical behavior literally destroyed a multi-billion dollar company, listed integrity as one of its core values). True leaders hold themselves accountable to a higher set of principles which shape their decisions, their influence and ultimately their legacy.

The presentation closes with a motivating pledge that my family and I recite each night that reinforces each member’s dedication to being a true leader.

Target Audience

Individuals and organization focused on developing true, effective leaders.  This topic is relevant to a wide variety of industries including large and small corporations, financial advisors, business consultants, retailers, small business and management associations, and churches.

Intended Outcomes

  •  Regardless of authority level, audience members will be inspired to become true, authentic leaders, creating something bigger than themselves which others will aspire to be a part of
  • Attendees will understand the five characteristics of a “True Leader” and why they are essential in bringing families, organizations, and companies to a higher level
  • Audience Members will be motivated to move beyond “good enough” as well as to add exponential value to their organizations and those around them
  • The audience will leave with practical, actionable steps they can implement immediately

Topic Authority

  •  I have over 20 years of official and unofficial leadership experience for some of the world’s largest and most respected brands including Coca-Cola and BP.  I have dedicated myself to the qualities shared in this presentation.  They have allowed to not only inspire people under my authority but those who I have had no formal responsibility for.
  • The principles shared in this presentation are the result of 25 years of experience and education  They have allowed me to grow a division of BP by $50MM over 3 years and move a specific channel within Coca-Cola from a 65% share to over a 90%. More importantly, my reputation is built on highly engaged and motivated teams, most of whom didn’t officially report to me.
  • I have the honor to share my experience and views with some of the most respected companies and organizations in the world, including a veritable pallet of the Fortune 500 and Saddleback Church (the largest church in the world).
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