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There are thousands of books presenting dozens of lists on the attributes of great leaders, so I decided to focus my research on a slightly different question. If I’m an ordinary human being, how do I actually become one of the great leaders I read about in these books? In other words, what is the pathway to greatness?

Here’s what I’ve learned; leadership effectiveness is not a matter of intention; it’s a matter of impact. Why do I say that? I’ve never met the leader who aspires to destroy shareholder value, irritate customers and alienate staff. Yet often the unintended consequence of our leadership is to do just that.

The bad news is that in studying leaders who have actually bridged this gap between their noble intentions and their impact, my colleagues and I have found no magic formula to guarantee success. It turns out that leadership transformation is extremely context bound. Every leader’s journey is unique.

The good news, however, is that there are common threads in the experiences of those who’ve realized their leadership vision, and achieved a transformation in their organization. Over time, we’ve come to understand that the best way to share what we’ve learned is through metaphor.

Download the white paper here.

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