The key attitude that defines leadership

When George de Mestral returned from a walk one day to find his dog and his clothes covered in burrs he didn’t just remove them, he looked closely at how they managed to cling so tightly. And then he invented Velcro.

When engineers building a train tunnel through a Japanese mountain found they had a problem with leaking water they didn’t just seal the leaks, they bottled the water, sold it as mineral water, and built a brand worth more than $50m/year.

When Travis Kalanick and a friend couldn’t get a taxi in Paris one day they didn’t just complain about it, they founded Uber. The rest, as we know, is history.

We’ve all faced situations like these but we probably didn’t respond in the ways these people did.

And though these examples all seem very different, they all share one thing in common: the attitude of the people in them — the attitude of looking for ways to turn ‘problems’ into opportunities.

This is the key attitude that defines leadership. And in a time of change it will be even more valuable than usual: an essential step to becoming antifragile and using change to become stronger.

Are you currently facing any ‘problems’? What would happen if you could find the opportunities they represent?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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(And remember: you don’t learn to swim by reading about swimming, you also have to practice.)

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