This Leadership Myth Deserves To Be Busted

greatbychoiceThe toughest part of busting myths is figuring out which beliefs deserve to be questioned. Jim Collins’ latest research book, Great By Choice, reveals several.

Entrenched myth #1 has been a personal bugaboo of mine for years; that is, that the best leaders are charismatic and visionary. Collins’ research actually proves quite the contrary.

“The best leaders we studied did not have a visionary ability to predict the future. They observed what worked, figured out why it worked, and built upon proven foundations. They were not more risk taking, more bold, more visionary, and more creative than the comparisons. They were more disciplined, more empirical, and more paranoid.”

I’m not crazy about the use of paranoia as a motivator, but it’s damn affirming to see empirical and disciplined approaches get more air time. In the last five years, several good works have been written about the failures of charismatic CEO’s versus the success of their more pragmatic peers.

I’ll take passion and discipline over charisma any day.


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