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Leadership in 3 Words : ICMS – Success is NOT Logical
Leadership in 3 Words
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24 May 2016 - 13:03, by , in Business plans, Leadership, No comments

Name that Tune

As a Baby Boomer, I believe my preference for brevity was influenced by a 1950’s TV show Name That Tune. The contestants who could identify a song listening to the fewest number of notes won money, i.e., “I can name the song in 3 notes.”

Someone asked this week for a definition of leadership. My response was 3 words: creates meaningful improvement. That’s what a good leader does. He/she creates meaningful improvement.


  • A good leader does not copy, they create. Creation begins with a blank sheet of paper, not a photocopy of some other organization.
  • Leaders create company culture. Company culture is a collection of daily habits. Culture makes work worth it.
  • A leader creates the strategy, followers the plan. In the military they refer to the strategy as “the commander’s intent”. A leader writes on 1-page the why, what, where and who. Followers create the how. To learn how to create a 1-page strategic plan watch BullsEye video.


  • A leader defines WHY the company exists. The WHY statement has 3-7 simple words, is Big & Bold, has an AHA effect, involves everyone and is not about money. Watch Simon Sinek’s TED talk.
  • A leader focuses on important activities, not trivial tasks. Leaders work “on” the business, not “in” the business.
  • A leader focuses on essential things. Things that have meaning in the lives of customers and employees.


  • A leader makes the status quo less appealing by pointing out the inherent challenges, risks, and downside of not changing.
  • A leader does not change things, they improve them. People don’t like change but they love improvement.
  • A leader aligns strengths in ways that make our weaknesses irrelevant.
    Leadership is not title or position

You can be promoted to a position of leadership, but promotion does not make you a leader. You can even own the company and not be a leader. There is a big difference in headship and leadership.

Headship is a job title. Leadership is creating meaningful improvement.

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