1. You are not always right
As a leader you are only good if you understand that others may be better at leading than you – and then you have a sense of how you can become a better, more knowledgable leader. And you are always going to not be as knowledgeable as you can be.
The eventual autonomous application of information, will one day provide infinite solutions for infinite problems - cure diseases, war, world poverty, energy, global warming. Leadership will provide this future, through trial, error and most of all - those leaders worth following - knowing they were not always right.
If you are reading this and you are already aware you are not always right, you have achieved something remarkable - you have learnt to communicate with humility.
2. Sometimes ‘how’ you achieve is different than how you ‘think’ you’ll achieve.
We often say “I have a plan, and I am going to stick to it”. But things often do not go to plan, so plans are inherently restrictive, brittle and break - plans fail.
Changing the way we interact with our daily ‘plans’ is a pretty significant part of the DNA of successful leadership - learning to throw out the presumption that rigid planning will lead to success will do you the world of good. Bend - don’t break.
3. The ‘basics matter’ principle
Acts of a trained performer such as Anna Pavlova - performed flawlessly on stage the act of the dying swan. The choreography of Michael Fokine - made up for her limited technique as a dancer. His approach to repetition and focus on basic form gave rise to the historic acclaim of the young ballerina, the first ever to tour the world.
The basics of any task, learnt through repetition - are of extraordinary importance, by removing any variables their execution becomes as Anna Pavlovas did - flawless.
Focus on refining the basics, well oil them - be flawless. Basics matter.
4. Your people will determine your success
There are very few human beings alive that have been fortunate enough to travel into space, and none such an event more captivating than witnessing the ‘first’ electric car to be driven on the moon.
For NASA astronaut Col David Scott, his first lunar rover mission in 1971 was the result of the combined effort of thousands of people and $38 million dollars spent with Boeing on the first Lunar Rover to get him there. It is combined effort that will determine your success - and a top speed of 8mph.
5. Get a gang, teams matter.
Diverse problems create diverse leadership opportunities, take the Naploeonic wars leading up to the battle of Trafalgar in 1805 - the ‘team’ is made up of naval and infantry men spanning the classes, across several complex professional military disciplines, in multiple time zones and all speak different languages, with no internet, or telephones. A tough one.
Vice Admiral Heratio Nelson through his inspirational leadership and superb grasp of military strategy managed to span the class divide and unite ‘team GB’ against the French and Spanish throughout the Napoleonic wars in the lead up to his heroic death at Trafalgar.
His gang was his committed British naval officers, readily keen to follow his unconventional leadership tactics, he lead a cohesive operation from the front - quite literally - ‘Nelsons column’ isn’t ‘Nelsons Committee Column’.