The story of innovation is incomplete without leadership. Every successful idea has drivers. Someone or team made the necessary moves to make it work – they organized the activities or workflow around the idea to ensure its success. Innovation rarely occurs without leadership. Therefore, it’s important for entrepreneurs to understand how leadership works.

What makes a leader? Why do people follow a Hitler or Obama? Basically, the leadership code has four key elements. When these elements are in place, people respond. These four make a leader.

Thought: An idea makes you a leader. Every leader caught an idea; a thought. A way of thinking that morphed into an operational system. Barack Obama caught the idea of becoming the president of the United States of America – and it thrust him into the next level of leadership. What thoughts do you have now? That’s the first step in leadership. A thought is direction. It announces to people that you have a plan – that you’re ready to lead.

Conviction: This is strong belief in an idea. This is when an idea becomes an ideology or a strong driving force due to the high degree of belief by the visionary. Here, it’s no longer just a thought, but a force. Once an idea becomes a conviction or ideology, you become a different person – you change. Now, you’re officially on fire. Conviction is the tipping point. Once you cross the conviction threshold, you’re officially a force and people will follow you.

Speech: The first sign of conviction is speech. A person of conviction begins to talk about the issues burning within. They eagerly share these ideas with others. It’s hard to hold it all in. You want people to know, understand and participate in your conviction. You sell your ideas by your talk. Your conviction sets others on fire. They see and appreciate your perspective and start thinking and talking like you.

Action: The second sign of conviction is action. This completes the leadership cycle. Speech and action are two sides of a coin. Effective leaders speak and act all at once. True conviction is expressed in action. You’re so excited about the idea and submit to its dictates. In other words, you do what the idea tells you to do.

Action makes it easy for people to participate. The idea becomes a rallying call. Your conviction becomes the energy or fuel behind the vision and you inspire people to act by what you say and do. Now, that’s leadership.



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