Good vs. Great Leaders: One Word Sets Them Apart image Implications LeaderhsipGood vs. Great Leaders: One Word Sets Them ApartI have often wrestled with helping strong leaders truly see and understand what they must do differently to be great leaders.

Strong leaders are committed, hard working, diligent, responsible, and frequently highly skilled in their functional area.

Great leaders take responsibility for the whole, not just their functional area. They think a lot about consequences and being in control of events and outcomes, rather than at the mercy of those events. Great leaders are distinguished by the fact that their own leaders rarely have to be concerned about results occurring as promised, if ever.

So…what sets these two apart? What word explains the difference?


Great leaders consider the implications of their activities, and then take action accordingly. That’s the difference.

For example, they consider the implications of:

1. Success
2. Missing a target or objective
3. Training, or not training, staff
4. Recent actions or results on cash flow, revenue, and profit
5. Emerging innovation opportunities
6. Being aligned, or not, to organizational values, strategies, and priorities

In fact, they consistently look beyond their results or activities to the implications of those outcomes, and decide what, if anything needs to be done as a consequence.

Their actions may include:

1. Capturing a best practice
2. Compensating for a shortfall long before they’re asked to
3. Immediately implementing a new strategy to get something that’s currently going off the rails back on track in plenty of time to deliver a promised result
4. Investing in the present (e.g. in staff development) for future capability
5. Providing alternative approaches to those originally intended so as not to put the end at risk
6. Creative, innovative thinking, initiated well before others see the need for a new approach
7. Setting the example by personally demonstrating a more collaborative approach, without which mediocrity, not brilliance, becomes the norm

Implications are the foreseen or realized consequences of an action or activity. Recognizing them is often insightful, but great leaders don’t simply wait for “insight to hit,” rather they intentionally ask, think, and consider what are the implications of their efforts are. They then act on this thinking to ensure the promised outcome actually occurs.

To consider and then act on implications is to take a significant step towards becoming a great leader.

Good vs. Great Leaders: One Word Sets Them Apart image des jol cta updatedGood vs. Great Leaders: One Word Sets Them Apart

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