No Hercules needed. Or wanted.

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Leadership Distinction #44: Result

‘Results’ is a word commonly used in the language of business judgment. You’ll hear expressions like, “She gets results”, or, “Don’t talk to me about anything but results”. It suggests someone else’s verdict over what you have or haven’t done. Result is different; it is a word that is part of the language of leaders, pursuing intended change. It is personal to them.

A Result is what is brought forth at the end of an effort. We often say – and often unfairly – that the measure of the Result is the measure of the effort that went into it. It’s unfair because engineering desired change in the increasingly complex world of today is tough to pull off – even with herculean individual efforts. 

And therein lies the clue to increasing the odds of bringing forth a Result from the inscrutable web of complexity that abounds: no individual Hercules please. But when the combined efforts of committed followers is brought to bear on a vision – a vision followers have taken on as their own, and even morphed it because it is now theirs as much as yours, now that’s a powerful formula that can change the equation, and lift your chances.

Still, if the Result induced does not equate with the vision that launched the effort and inspired followers, a stoic revision with followers is called for. If we are to learn well, if we are to “make correct use of our impressions” as counseled by Epictetus who gave us the Stoic handbook for living back at the beginning of the Common Era, leaders need to draw in the observations of their shared ‘envisioners’.

 In a new kind of language, primed by the complex era in which we find ourselves, and a language shared by leader and follower, pursuing the Result is still personal and not judgmental. But now it’s we-personal.

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Episode 43