The key attitude that defines leadership

When George de Mestral returned from a walk one day to find his dog and his clothes covered with burrs he didn’t just remove them. He looked more closely to find out what was making them cling so tightly. And then he invented Velcro.

When Japanese engineers were building a railway through a mountain and discovered that water was flooding into the tunnel they didn’t simply seal the leaks. Instead 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. And the rest, as we know, is history.

We’ve all been in situations like this. But we probably didn’t respond in the ways all these people did.

And though these three examples all seem different, they all share one thing in common: the attitude of the people involved. The attitude to look for ways to turn ‘problems’ into opportunities.

This is the key attitude that defines leadership. 

And in a time of change it becomes more important than ever: an essential step to using change to become stronger and more valuable.

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 just by reading about swimming, you also have to do the practice.)


Photo by gfpeck via StockPholio.com

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