Before it is built, before it produces, before it functions, before the vision is realized….
…you must have this.
Foundations are predictive. The precision with which they are built will determine the limits of what is possible later. If you are building a structure the foundation must be perfectly square. The Pythagorean Theorem is in play. The sum of the squares of the lengths of the two legs of a right triangle is equal to the square of the hypotenuse.
Miss it by an inch and that little miss will be exponentially larger as the building rises toward the roof. Great care must be taken at the foundational level.
Building a leader is no different. A solid foundation is critical. But where do great leaders get their foundations?
It would be really easy to say that great foundations come from a healthy family background, solid education and leadership training….experience at the “boots on the ground” level of an organization, perhaps. And, let there be no doubt, I am a firm believer in all of these valuable things.
However, I also believe that great foundations can come from other sources as well.
Perhaps you didn’t have a great family life as a child. But maybe you learned how to make decisions for yourself early on and that translated into a decisive leader as an adult.
Perhaps you didn’t have the educational opportunities of some of your peers early on but instead spent your time developing expertise in your specialty field at the lower levels of an organization. That breadth of knowledge in a specialty can translate into a more visionary leader in an industry or organization.
Perhaps you are simply a natural leader who has been at the center of peer groups all of your life because people are naturally drawn to your charisma. And from that experience you have developed the ability to motivate people to move mountains that otherwise seemed immovable.
Who is the greatest leader you have known…
…and on what foundation was THEIR leadership built?