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I’m regularly asked about leadership and I have my views about it – things that I have learned from trial and error (and there have been many errors over the years) – but I was delighted to attend a PwC event which hosted Dr Fred Kofman author of ‘Conscious Business’ this week.

Kofman’s basic premise is two fold: Firstly that great leader’s take responsibility for their actions, as well as how they choose to react to any situation that presents itself.

Secondly, a clear sense of purpose is critical to successful leadership. A leader cannot buy commitment (as I have said on many times– “no amount of money will keep people happy long term if you don’t capture their hearts and minds.”, and “discretionary effort something people choose to give, it is not something you can ask for”)– which means that it is up to the leader to inspire people to ‘the noble cause.’

“If a leader demonstrates that his purpose is noble, that the work will enable people to connect with something large – more permanent than their material existence – people will give the best of themselves to the enterprise” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Clearly the actions we take as a leader speak very loudly to those around us.

My father told me as a child “Do as a say not as I do.” Which he said tongue-in-cheek, but I always a bit confused by this – my mother would say “people will judge you by the jobs you don’t like doing – not the ones you do”… As great people said:

“What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.” Emerson

“We must be the change we want to see in the world.” Gandhi

Simply ‘Actions speak louder than words’ which both my parents drilled into me.

As leaders what we ‘do’ moment by moment creates the culture around us. I cannot expect people to arrive on time for a meeting if I do not do so myself. I must pitch in a lead by example if we are in need of extra support in answering customer emails. Quite simply our actions set the tone – and the values.

“As the leadership team goes so goes the rest of the organization”. So the question remains do you operate from a clear sense of purpose and do you take responsibility?

Too often people blame the circumstance or someone else – because somehow we find it difficult to fess up to ‘I stuffed up’.  For example, the traffic did not make me late – I didn’t leave early enough. So often we find excuses to justify our own behavior.

How would it be different if you said to yourself –  ‘Anything that effects me is my problem and I am part of the problem’

  • Consider: “You are the pilot to your own life.”
  • Consider: “What is your businesses noble purpose?”

How would you explain to your child your company’s purpose in a way that makes you proud? (and maybe this applies to parenting too)

Reader Interactions


  1. […] (For further information on values-led business, have a look at the work by Fred Kofman, LinkedIn Influencer and author of Conscious Business.) […]

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