I had the privilege to see and listen to Jim Collins (author of “Good to Great” and recently “Great by Choice”) kick off the ASTD International Conference in Denver on May 7, 2012. He said that greatness is not something of circumstance, it is a choice, and one of the critical choices that leaders need to make is picking the right talent (he said it is the #1 skill of a leader), and to then to be able to put them on in the right place in the organization. From there it is the ability to develop that talent and allow them to become great.
Jim spoke on his definition of a level 4 versus a level 5 leader. A level 4 leader has the Drive to get things done and accomplished – execution, something that lacks in most organizations. But to be a Level 5 leader, one that truly differentiates themselves, and can lead an organization into sustained and consistent growth, but that they must possess true humility and will to persevere in any situation.
Jim defined humility as having the drive and ambition to go after a cause or purpose, but to do so for that cause or purpose, not for themselves.
The great news about level 5 leadership, it can be trained, and it can be developed.
Jim also spoke on the role of luck. He described a luck event as:
- First, some significant aspect of the event occurs largely or entirely independent of the actions of the enterprise’s main actors.
- Second, the event has a potentially significant consequence — good or bad.
- Third, it has some element of unpredictability.
Luck can be good or bad, and the question is never are you luckier then someone else, it is what you do with your luck – your ROL (Return On Luck). Jim explained the best way to get an ROL is to have a high return on honoring your relationships.
Click here for Jim’s essay on Luck in the NY Times: