Leadership is seeing the opportunities and choosing the difference you want to make

Jane Goodall on Making a Difference

When Levi Strauss arrived in California intending to sell tents to the miners, and discovered that they didn’t need tents — it never rained — he could have given up on being an entrepreneur and got a job in a bar. Or he could have gone off to find somewhere rainy. Instead he cut up the tents and turned them into what became the world’s first blue jeans.

When Alexander Fleming noticed that the bacteria hadn’t grown properly on one of the petri dishes he was working with he could have simply thrown it away, or washed it out and started again. Instead he investigated why the experiment had ‘failed’ and discovered penicillin.

When tunnellers beneath a mountain in Japan had a problem with water leaking into the tunnel they could have stopped and dug elsewhere. Or sealed the tunnel. Or drained the water. Instead the bottled it and sold it as mineral water.

Leadership is about seeing the opportunities in a situation, and choosing the difference you want to make.

What difference do you want to make this week?


Chapter 3 of inner leadership teaches three ways to learn to spot the opportunities in any situation. 

There are ten potential opportunities you might choose to focus on, and Chapter 4 provides tools to help you identify the best one for you.

Chapters 5 and 6 are about articulating that as a vision that will inspire others to join.

The rest of The Churning is about implementation.

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