3 traits in great leaders

those 3 traits of great leaders (according to Jim Collins) are:

you can catch up on the 1st trait in yesterday's post HERE. + you have to read that 1st post to understand the framework story used to show these 3 traits = the 2 teams and their leaders racing to the South Pole.

When most leaders are unsure or in a time of chaos - they don't know what to do so they just do what others are doing/have done in the past. that's our natural response as average and even good leaders.

great leaders figure out how to marry their creativity with empirical data = combine their creativity with what is PROVEN to work (not just what others are doing/have done). make sense?

they work hard to figure out what WORKS. maybe it's not the most popular method... in fact it's probably not or else we wouldn't be in the time of chaos or season of being unsure.

i would prefer to call this CREATIVE PRAGMATISM. Jim's phrase sounds smarter, but mine makes more sense to me.
it's the realization that i am NOT smart enough to outsmart this, but there are people with empirical, practical evidence.

and then you make your move based on this empirical, creative pragmatism.
and looking in from the outside - the moves these leaders make may appear to be rash, crazy, BOLD decisions... but they are simply creative decisions based on the empirical evidence of what works.

and i LOVE Collins' analogy around this - it is EXTREMELY relevant to me in this moment of my life. he said it's like a ship back in the day at war on the open seas with another ship.
they can straight up fire a couple cannon balls to blow up the other ship -- but if their aim is off just a few degrees... and they miss... well, they're out of gun powder. you only have enough "powder" to fire a few cannon balls.
so, the better way is to fire bullets. test shots. get the right trajectory and then fire the cannon ball with all that gun powder you still have left.

try with a little. and again. and again. then you hit the mark... THEN go big. that's empirical creativity.

in an uncertain world you really do have to be prepared for what you can't predict.
These great leaders are always sitting around wondering "what if" -- while channeling that energy into being PRODUCTIVE!
(most of us do just the opposite = paranoia & "what if" wondering paralyzes us and we do nothing.)

the team who actually made it to the South Pole put out 10 mile wide black markers at every depot stop! and you better believe they didn't miss a single one. THAT is productive paranoia.
(the other team just put a flag on top of the depot itself. they all died.)
some famous guy, CEO of a company - can't even remember who, but he had an awesome quote = "We predicted 11 of the last 3 recessions." = again, THAT is productive paranoia. that company was OK in every single recession. they're still doing fine. (wish i could remember who it was?)

they were being (some might say) OVERLY paranoid. but it was productive paranoia, so they put plans in place and they have been OK in every single recession.

so, the GREAT leaders have Fanatic Discipline, Empirical Creativity, and Productive Paranoia

i have a lot to still be developed in me. how are YOU doing with these 3 in YOUR leadership?

tomorrow i'll post more leadership takeaways from Collins & on Thursday i'll post the 10 point TO DO list he gave all of us!