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The Leader's Leap

“Let’s go for it.”

“It’s now or never.”

“Lead, follow or get out of my way.”

“Nothing changes until we change it.”

“Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”

I hope you have recited some of these phrases to yourself in the past. I hope you’ve even recited some of them to your team. I hope you’ve gone out on a limb that others may not have chosen to go out on. I hope you’ve done some things your advisors advised against. In other words, I hope you’ve led.

Between April of 2011 and February of this year, we opened four facilities in a little less than five years. If I had known then what I know now, I’m not sure I would have had us open so many so fast. But we took the leaps. And we survived. Some would even say we’ve thrived. We’ve grown our customer base by a factor of 10 and have enlarged our mission significantly.

All because we took four leaps.

Leader, you have to leap. If you are in front, your eyes have to be up. Your vision has to be further than theirs. You have to see things they don’t see, believe futures that they don’t believe, and leap when others wouldn’t.

But you need to leap carefully.

Okay, maybe sometimes not carefully, but at least thoughtfully.

In one of his many parables, Jesus challenged his listeners to count the cost before embarking on any significant endeavor. While he wasn’t speaking solely to business leaders, his timeless truth prevails: our leaps need to be thought through.

We also need to leap in such a way that our team members can follow. Maybe they couldn’t have leaped like we did. But we need to create a path for them to follow. We need to encourage them to stretch further than they would have without us. We need to help them grow.

But at the end of the day, it is you, leader, who needs to leap first.

What’s your next leap?