A few days back I found myself running up the street to a neighbor’s house during the middle of the day. When I arrived I was a bit winded, hot and sweaty. I asked myself how I could be winded after such a short jog; I’m training for a marathon and it’s not uncommon for me to run six miles a day. Then it hit me…I was fully clothed and it was early afternoon on a hot (over 90 degrees F) day. When I train I run early in the morning and wear the appropriate gear. I create — and take advantage of — the conditions that enable me to get a good work-out.
As I was thinking through this experience I realized it applies nicely to leadership. Leaders make things happen. They evaluate their circumstances (which are often very difficult), make key decisions and do what it takes to successfully complete their task at hand. In every situation great leaders take into consideration all the surrounding factors and create the right conditions for success. They tune in to the people and their surroundings, and make decisions that utilize both effectively. The following quote by General Colin Powell sums it up nicely: ”Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.”