There are whole sections in business libraries and bookstores dedicated to the topic of leadership. What it is. What it requires. Masters write about it and rewrite about it over and over again. Some new and long established names you may have read: Peter Drucker, John Kotter, Seth Godin, Warren Bennis, Daniel Pink, Gary Hamel, Steven Covey, Clayton Christensen, Daniel Goleman, Jim Collins, Malcolm Gladwell, Patrick Lencioni… and I could go on. The field is large and rich. People study and pursue advanced degrees in it.
What could we, Aveus, possibly have to add to what the legends have already written about the topic of leadership? Well, we think plenty. And it’s because we put an adjective in front of the kind of leadership we are interested in: bold.
In quick reaction you might think, “Isn’t all leadership ‘bold?’” Ah, definitely not! Or, you might say “bold” is just a small four-letter word. Does qualifying leadership with that term really change the discussion? Yes, indeed.
In a recent meeting with my partners, we reflected back on our portfolio of work spanning over 15 years that has taken us around the world and into every kind of organization. We asked ourselves: When was the result the best for the client? In other words, when has the organization had not just a good – but a great – outcome? We also asked: When was it a great experience for the client teams and our team?
The answer to our investigation was when there was a bold leader in place.
We have come to define these leaders as bold in action, not big persona. These are people that see opportunities or challenges and act to solve them. We have been reaching out formally and informally to these bold leaders in our network and beyond to understand what makes them so, frankly, rare.
We’ve concluded that a bold leader:
- Never settles for the status quo. There is always opportunity.
- Is unable to let a needed change go unaddressed.
- Will walk head-on into both positive and negative stress situations and conquer them.
- Stays to see the results of their work.
- Is positive – with moments of self-doubt that they push through and never let their teams see.
- Makes very (and we mean very) strategic decisions about where and how they invest.
- Relies on top talent. They are choosy about who surrounds them.
- Is team-oriented. They are “we” people interested in success broadly, not selfishly.
- Anchors their decisions in what is right for the customer. We have yet to find a successful bold leader who is not customer-centric.
- Often feels lonely within their organization. They are acutely aware of the change burden that others do not see or fully understand.
- Is not always effective. The successful ones know when, how much, and how to enroll others and build momentum toward their goal.
Does this feel like you? If so, we should talk. We’ve dedicated everything we do as a firm to assisting bold leaders achieve their visions. We would welcome hearing your story. At a minimum, we can offer you in return our perspective built from the dozens of bold leader experiences we have had. Beyond that, well, that’s where it gets really interesting.