6000 Definitions of Leadership… and Counting

Ken Blanchard loves to challenge leaders with the question, “If a reporter stuck a mic in your face and said you’ve got 30 seconds – What’s your leadership point of view?  What would you say?"

About a decade ago, I had the privilege of leading a team charged with helping Chick-fil-A answer that question.  We were faced with the challenge of a growing company and the need for more leaders - faster.  We realized that a critical step to accelerating leadership development was to forge a consensus within the organization around our definition of leadership - or, as Ken would say, our “leadership point-of-view.” We worked for years on this issue.  We did interviews within the company, global benchmarking and we read a couple of hundred leadership books.
What seemed like a relatively simple assignment became quite challenging.  One reason - we discovered there are over 6000 definitions of leadership!  No wonder we were confused.  Everyone within the organization had picked his or her favorite definition.  None of them were bad, they were just different.  This explained in part, why we were having such a difficult time with leadership development.  We were pursuing different destinations. After the lengthy process I briefly described above, we reached a conclusion.  It may seem counterintuitive to many, but we decided that our point-of-view was simply stated:

Great Leaders Serve 

How Great Leaders Serve will be the focus of upcoming posts.  Until then I’d love to hear from you. The microphone is yours – you’ve got 30 seconds… What’s your leadership point-of-view?


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