Need to Know

It’s in the knowing.

It’s not in the guessing, the posturing, the fake it til you make it…you need to know.

Leadership is on a need to know basis.

Yes there’s all kinds of feel-good notions about pulling a sword from a stone…mystically finding one’s way…but leaders are not preordained nor predestined. When it counts, you either know…or you don’t.

Of course you factor in strategy and culture and context and relationships…but in that lonely, imminent moment when a decision must be made…you need to know. You’ve seen the scene before. The players are different, but the feel is familiar. And you lead.

You know the ask.

You know yourself.

You know what matters.

You know what doesn’t.

Everything else is background noise.

It’s not hardwired or handed to you. You earn it…you learn it by doing…rolling up your sleeves and getting your fingernails dirty. There’s no substitute, no finesse, no smoke and mirrors that compensates for the lack of it.

Leading is a challenge even when you know…leading with anything less is folly.



9 thoughts on “Need to Know

  1. Of course. No skin of the teeth- seat of the pants- I’ll just feel it pretense will do. Leadership is intense & serious & requires preparation & thought. Thanks for speaking out for careful thoughtful leadership.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Very interesting read, Walter. I read it three times in a row! I really like the message that knowing takes investment and learning by doing, and even then, leading is still challenging. Thanks for pushing my thinking.


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