Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Leader is Someone Who Has Followers

In "Tribes" Seth Godin asks, "what does a leader look like?"
quoting Godin -
I've met leaders all over the world, on several continents, and in every profession. I've met young leaders and one ones, leaders with big tribes and tiny ones. I can tell you this: leaders have nothing in common. They don't share gender or income level or geography. There's no gene, no schooling, no parentage, no profession. In other words leaders aren't born. I'm sure of it.

Godin then comments that the one common factor among leaders is their decision to lead.

This idea resonates with me in light of my reading of - re: the ascent from poverty in NY projects.

While there are more than 400,000 residents in the New York City Housing Authority's 2,611 buildings at any given time... the author, Lizette Alvarez, says there are "more than 100 marquee names on a city list of alumni."

Something sets these successes apart as our focus of our interest. Headlines within the past week [and the article above] have highlighted the admirable life stories of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayer, and incoming Xerox CEO Ursula Burns. What can we learn from studying those who ascend beyond expectations? Count me among their admirers.

In current terms we would call them "outliers" - those statistical anamolies worthy of positive attention and dissection. Malcolm Gladwell has plumbed this territory well in "Outliers: The story of success," a highly recommended read.

Tonight I picture these among us as Lamplighters. So, I will share this poem by Robert Louis Stevenson.

The Lamplighter
My tea is nearly ready and the sun has left the sky.
It’s time to take the window to see Leerie going by;
For every night at teatime and before you take your seat,
With lantern and with ladder he comes posting up the street

Now Tom would be a driver and Maria go to sea,
And my papa’s a banker and as rich as he can be;
But I, when I am stronger and can choose what I’m to do,
O Leerie, I’ll go round at night and light the lamps with you

For we are very lucky, with a lamp before the door,
And Leerie stops to light it as he lights so many more;
And oh! before you hurry by with ladder and with light;
O Leerie, see a little child and nod to him tonight

1 comment:

  1. I read Outliers as well as The Tipping Point. Interesting ideas, insights. It takes hard work to excel. That is for sure.