Leadership is the dynamic product of what a Leader does (the Leadership Skills) and what a Leader is (the Leadership Characteristics). These Skills and Characteristics coalesce to form the Leadership Foundation upon which a Q depends to Influence people to Movement.
No one becomes a Leader through fiat, promotion or appointment. Regardless of what they are called within their Group, a person is not a Leader unless they have Influence on its Members and they will not have Influence without a Foundation. A “leader” who cannot Influence is not a Leader. He is a Mascot.
Every person is born with some innate Leadership capability, just as every man born with functioning limbs has an innate athletic capability. However, just as no one would suggest that a man can reach his full athletic potential without training to develop it, no person can realize their full potential as a Leader without a development process that provides them with a Leadership Foundation. Trying to Lead without a Foundation is like living in a house built upon shifting sand–neither will survive a heavy rain.
F3’s Leadership Development Process (it’s LDP) Has Four Phases
1. Schooling: the provision of formal Leadership instruction that provides the head knowledge of what a Leader is and does
2. Apprenticeship: the Positive Habit Transfer of the Leadership Skills and Characteristics that transforms head knowledge into hand knowledge
3. Opportunity: a Leadership position within a Group that provides the responsibility for Outcome
4. Failure: undesirable Outcomes that create Adversity and increase Resilience
It is through the four phases of the LDP that a person learns what a Leader is and does. The LDP provides head knowledge, transforms it into hand knowledge, provides a place to test it and the chance to learn from doing it wrong. Without all four phases, it is unlikely that a person will reach their potential as a Leader because their Foundation will be incomplete.
Before we describe each building block of the Leadership Foundation in detail, we need to make some general points
First, we say it is unlikely that a person will reach their full potential without each of the phases of the LDP because we are not quite willing to say that it is impossible to do so.
– A man may have so much innate Leadership ability that the lack of formal Schooling (for example) does not significantly hamper his overall development. He could be a self-taught Leader in the way a truly talented musician might learn how to play an instrument by ear. Still, without Schooling, he will be like a piano player who never learned to read sheet music. Good, maybe very good, but never great. There are some beneficial Leadership lessons that just cannot be self-taught.
Second, F3 does not specify a prescribed sequence for the phases of the LDP. We do not contend that Schooling must precede Apprenticeship, to be followed by Opportunity with Failure being the last brick laid upon the Foundation. In fact, the four blocks can (and often are) laid both simultaneously and repeatedly. This last statement will make more sense as we explain each phase in detail. For now, we want to be clear that there is not a rigorous sequence. A Leader who realizes that he has never received any formal Schooling can certainly improve by obtaining some even though he has already had ample Opportunity and Failure. In fact, the desire to shore up one’s Leadership foundation is something done by the Virtuous Leader.
– That being said, the absence of a rigorous sequence does not mean that there is no ideal sequence for the LDP. We have not listed the phases randomly such that Failure could just as well be first and Apprenticeship last. Ideally, Schooling leads to an Apprenticeship followed by Opportunities to lead that result in Failures from which the developing Leader forms his full Foundation. The building blocks in this ideal sequence would have significant overlap and simultaneous construction, such that (particularly while the man is going through it) it is difficult to discern the precise block being laid at any particular time. It is only in retrospect (as we are doing now in the writing of this book) that a developed Leader can see how his own particular Foundation was laid.
Finally, the building of the Leadership Foundation is a never-ending process in the Q’s life. If he thinks the structure is complete so that he can put aside his trowel and mortar for good he has unwittingly begun the process of its deconstruction. Just as a man’s Fitness provides no opportunity for plateaus (because a man is becoming either marginally more or less fit every day) a man’s Leadership Foundation never reaches a point of perfection where no further work is required.
Each day, a Leader’s Foundation grows a little stronger or a little weaker depending upon his willingness to steadily keep building it.