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Friday, October 29, 2021

Lean Quote: If Human Beings Had Genuine Courage, They’d Wear Their Costumes Every Day, Not Just on Halloween

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"If human beings had genuine courage, they'd wear their costumes every day of the year, not just on Halloween.  —  Douglas Coupland

Well, it turns out that courage has a lot to do with leadership. Or shall I say, leadership has a lot to do with courage.

It turns out that courage may separate out the effective leaders from ineffective leaders and can be the differentiator whether a leader has influence or not over those they lead.

Now let’s unpack this idea about courage and leadership.

First, let’s look at the definition of a leader for a moment: a person who has commanding authority or influence. And a common definition of leadership is : the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal.

Second, let’s go back to the definition of courage again: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear or difficulty.

Now if we were to have some wordsmith fun and combine the definitions of leader, leadership and courage together in one sentence, I’d come up with something like:

“A great leader is someone who has influence and can effectively motivate a group to act towards achieving a common goal because they have mental and moral strength and will persevere and withstand danger despite their fears and the difficulty of the challenge.“

As you can see now, courage is not something outside of or a small component of leadership, it’s the foundation of good leadership and great work cultures. And organizations who embrace and value courage significantly increase their competitive advantage because they value their culture and the people in it above all else. And that in turn is the driver of their sustained and long term success.

So if you’re a leader and you’re looking to invest in yourself and your team as a way to become great leaders, I would suggest to start with courage and see where it takes you.

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