12 Must Read Leadership Insights from 10 Leaders


Top Leadership Insights from Leadercast’s Architects of Tomorrowleadercast

Leadercast, an annual event to inspire and equip leaders, gathered more than 6,000 leaders in Atlanta while more than 100,000 gathered around the world to watch the live stream, for one day of leadership training. Here are a dozen insights that can drive your leadership to new heights.

As Leadercast states, the path to the future doesn’t exist yet.   Leaders must drag the future into the present with purpose & clarity.


1) To Be Influential, You Must Harness the Power of Clarity Andy Stanley

What does research repeatedly show that we want and value the most in leaders? Integrity & honesty.

Andy Stanley argues that while we value integrity, we actually follow clarity.   “People want to follow leaders with integrity, but end up choosing leaders who exhibit clarity,” Stanley shared.  Clarity is magnetic & “wins the day every time.”  The challenge for leaders is to exhibit clarity while demonstrating integrity.   “If you have integrity you’ll do ok, but if you harness the power of clarity, you can be influential.” Clarity results in influence “which is the essence of leadership” according to Stanley.   A leader is able to cast a vision – “a preferred future.”  Those who have vision will be perceived as leaders


2) Vision ‘leaks’ – Here’s How to Make it ‘Stick’ Andy Stanley

  1. State your vision simply
  2. Cast it convincingly
  3. Repeat it regularly (Vision leaks. It doesn’t stick. Which is why it must be simple)
  4. Celebrate it systematically (what’s rewarded is repeated)


3) Unlock Your Leadership Potential by Focusing on Priorities – Kat Cole

Don’t underestimate the power of priorities.  Cole noted that “focusing on the right thing can impact everything.”  She encouraged leaders to “focus on small enough to change, but big enough to matter.”  When we’re setting vision we must minimize opportunity costs.  Sometimes we must forego a smaller immediate opportunity for a longer term win of more consequence.  Other times we must accept that something may be too big to change right now.


4) Win – What is Important Now – Nick Saban

Alabama head coach Nick Saban pointed out that “there are many books on becoming successful, but few on staying successful.  You never arrive. It’s a continual process. Success is momentary.  Always ask ‘What’s next?’”

So what does it take to win? Saban says it’s a good ‘game plan,’ good preparation, the ability to adjust and, most importantly, your mindset.


He notes that where most fail is the failure to execute.  He reinforced the importance of a work ethic & discipline and asked “can you stay focused or will you be distracted by your circumstances? What habits do you need to form or change? What hard decisions will you make?”  The leader defines the standard “so everyone is clear on the expectations” then the people “must be willing to do the work to execute well consistently.”


5) Perhaps There Should Be ‘I’ in TEAM –  Nick Saban

If the leader impacts the individual, it will translate into the success of the team. “Nothing is more important to a person than himself.”  In contrast to most coaches & instructors, he encourages to “make it about you. Not team.”

A team is only as strong as the individuals that compose it.  For Saban, ‘I’ represents:

  • Individual
  • Intensity
  • Investing time well (reap what you sow)
  • Immediacy (a sense of urgency)
  • Intelligence (must have knowledge)
  • Improvement (must be able to overcome adversity – any bad thing that happens is an opportunity to improve)


6) Depth Before Height James Brown

The famous Fox Sports broadcaster, James Brown, exhorted leaders to have a strong foundation.  “Foundation determines success.” He quoted Steven Covey in noting that “internal leadership victories precede external ones.”   He cited the classic example by Coach John Wooden who said his players must have these priorities in this order:

  • God
  • Family
  • School
  • Sport


7) Leaders Must Give Away Their Authentic Self Aidan Thomas Hornaday

15-year-old Aidan Thomas Hornaday encouraged leaders to “give away your authentic self.”  He asked “what are we hiding that others need to see?” noting that being open and candid can inspire those you lead.  Hornaday also reminded that “we are defined by how we handle adversity.”


8) Leaders Must Get Off Autopilot Chris Barez-Brown

Chris Barez-Brown, founder of Upping Your Elvis, noted that people, and often leaders, are creatures of habit. We get carried away by routine.  Over time we get complacent & operate on autopilot. “Eighty percent of our life is on autopilot,” he cautioned. “Although it’s efficient, it’s not a great place to lead from.”

“In life, humans are dominated by feelings… but in work, we’re dominated by thinking and not enough feeling,” said Barez-Brown. He encouraged leaders to start putting feeling and emotion into their work again.  Advising that the Subconscious is an unending source of inspiration & it can be primed by executing and getting direct feedback instead of planning.  Experiment & don’t just theorize – make it real & you’ll be able to improve faster.

Three tips for getting off autopilot:

  • Breath better
  • Have fun
  • Ask ‘What’s Needed Here?’


9) Feeling is the Force Multiplier for a Leader Bill McDermott

A leader’s vision is critical, acknowledges SAP CEO Bill McDermott, but vision is “not just seeing around the corner, but feeling and engaging the heart” and emotions as well.  “Feeling is the force multiplier” and “vision is not just what you see, but what you feel & how you make others feel.”


10) An Organization Runs on What Your People Have Internalized – Are You Fueling? Dr. Henry Cloud

When your organization seems to have reached the limits of its performance, how do you get more?

Dr. Henry Cloud argues that “connection drives performance.” Leaders must connect through relationships.  If a leader doesn’t provide a connection, people won’t grow.   Moreover, research has shown that individuals can’t “handle negative without a bedrock of positive.” So if the relationship is not fueled, but the individual is held accountable “then standards become an enemy.”  And as leaders, it’s critical that we have a vision, standards and hold people accountable.


11) Innovation Can Stem from a Personal Desire Steve ‘Woz’ Wozniak

Woz, co-founder of Apple, shared that many times a leader innovates a new product in response to an unmet personal desire.  He provided three examples:

  • Woz – personal computer
  • Elon Mask – large electric car (first 6 charging stations were between his house & the factory)
  • Steve Jobs – a phone with Internet

“New technology is like art.   People don’t know if they’ll like it until they experience it. “

He noted the hardest thing about being a startup is marketing. Convincing people to part with their money.


12) 90% of a Leader’s Behavior Should be Predictable Rorke Denver

U.S. Navy SEAL Commander and author Rorke Denver knows first-hand above bravery under fire.  He exhorts leaders to push beyond fear and to lead boldly.  He insists as a leader “90% of your behavior should be predictable.” If an individual crosses the line, the outcome is known and expected. If the person does well, they are rewarded.   However, he encourages leaders to “throw your people curve balls 10% of the time.”  Do something unexpected, particularly if it demonstrates servanthood.  “It’s often the smallest things, the menial tasks, that will garner respect. Let them see it, but do it in a meaningful, genuine way.”

As a leader, “we must always sprint hard.”  There aren’t “many great ideas.  There are a lot of good ideas coupled with a boatload of work and passion.”


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