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Dale Jr #88You can have the best ideas on the planet. You can be Einstein and Steve Jobs rolled up into one. But if you can’t unleash the full potential of your people, you’re going to watch less ingenious competitors zoom past you and eat your lunch.

Knowing what to do is just the start

In my first big job out of college—managing the third shift in a union factory—I saw plenty of opportunities to boost productivity using my newly minted MBA. On the surface, it was just like many of the case studies we worked on in graduate school. But I soon learned that knowing what to do is just the starting point.

The greater challenge lies in getting your team to embrace change, raise the bar on performance, and follow your lead.

While the appropriate use of data is critical in any organizational transformation, you need to be able to step away from data-driven insights, put away the calculator and spreadsheets, and embrace the human reality of the workplace. You ultimately have to find a way to lead and inspire.

Ethos, Pathos, and Logos

The famous American philosopher Mortimer Adler once defined an effective leader this way:

Aristotle - Ethos Pathos Logos“…the good leader must have ethos, pathos and logos. The ethos is his moral character, the source of his ability to persuade. The pathos is his ability to touch feelings, to move people emotionally. The logos is his ability to give solid reasons for an action, to move people intellectually .”

 However, you can’t just drive to the Ethos, Pathos, and Logos Station and fill up your tank. You can, however, take the following steps to become an effective leader and achieve breakthrough results.

• Develop a realistic understanding of the performance curve in the workplace (Vele’s 5-85-10 Rule)
• Design a cultural transformation strategy to boost productivity (How to build an Innovative Culture)
• Launch a nonstop employee engagement campaign that will add electricity to the workplace. (Communication as a Catalyst)

Great leaders are a rare breed

When you get right down to it, being able to drive innovation in an organization takes a rare breed.

The leader must have the quality chops to discuss statistical process control and probability distribution with the best Black Belts.

More importantly, they won’t be able to get anything done unless they have the Churchillian fire in the belly to lead and inspire.

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