To be a leader means there must be followers.
But success comes with the right kind of followers. While a few may follow because the leader’s personality is original, most people follow because the leader’s vision is original.
In other words, effective leaders understand when and where to use the value of originality. As a differentiating value, Originality means ability to think and act independently; or producing something fresh and unusual.
It’s actually not that difficult to find original leaders. You just look for fresh or unusual results.
Originality in Action
- After 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela thought and acted differently in order to remove injustice and inequality in South Africa. What a legacy he leaves today!
- In 1987, Ronald Reagan took a different approach to end the Cold War. As a symbol of freedom in Eastern Europe, he challenged Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. And it worked!
- When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, his task was to turn around the flailing company he original co-founded. But his ability to think and act differently not only restored the company, he moved them into whole new areas (music and cell phones) outside the traditional computer business.
- In 2006, Alan Mulally left Boeing to join Ford. He proved that he could think differently from competitors (GM and Chrysler), ultimately not requiring any government bailout for the U.S. auto industry and actually growing market share during a major recession.
- Billy Graham was inspired by God to find new ways to bring the Gospel of Christ to the people. He ultimately reaching over 2 billion people around the world through radio, TV, and his popular crusades.
- As the pastor of one of America’s largest churches, Rick Warren, challenged his leadership team at Saddleback to increase the number of small groups (groups of 6 or 7 that meet weekly for prayer and fellowship) from 300 to over 3,000 groups. This became a cornerstone for the spiritual growth of over 20,000 members today.
Of course, leaders who are credited with producing something original rarely do it alone. They almost always receive help from others – other leaders, various stakeholders, and sometimes even their so-called opponents.
For all such leaders, one thing remains true: the value of originality can help the leader turn their vision into reality.
What other leaders have benefited from the value of originality?
Today’s value was selected from the “Creativity-Uniqueness” category, based on the e-book Developing Your Differentiating Values.