Specificity Click-bait



3 Things Great Leaders Never Do.
5 Keys to Organizational Change.
7 Days to C-Suite Nirvana.

Does anyone really believe this clickbait? This meme of false specificity has spread from the dodgy corners of the internet to main stream professional sites. It's as if the Washington Post has been taken over by the National Enquirer.


This might be amusing to those that know better. I have even heard defenses along the lines of, "at least this draws attention to leadership issues". Really? More like dumbs down real leadership challenges. Great leaders only do three things after all. Well, anyone can do that.


For those of you working every day to improve your leadership, or aspiring to a career requiring leadership (and most do), don't waste your time with these simplifications. They demean the hard work it takes to learn the requisite knowledge, skills and attitudes, seek and act on feedback about your leadership, set and meet stretch leadership goals for yourself.


Each situation is different, each leader brings a unique mix of experience, training, quirks and blind spots to the job. People are rarely accurate in their self-assessments. Without impartial feedback and on-going data streams designed to track targeted results, everyone, including the leaders, is acting blind.


There is also the problem of too much data, too many targets, too many leadership goals. In these organizations, there are effectively no goals other than day-to-day survival. These are symptoms of lack of strategic direction or at least lack of strategic decision making. Both are leadership problems shared by the board and the chief staff officer. Problem solutions must be tailored to that leadership team, that specific organization and that operational milieu.

In any application involving real people there are no quick fixes, nothing that applies everywhere and no common pathway. But if you think otherwise, and I hear there is one of you born every minute, could I interest you in 7 Snake Oil Cures?


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