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Les McKeown's Predictable Success Blog

  • October 29, 2009
  • minute read

Lessons from Cisco: Why there’s a ‘D’ in Leader 

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I like Cisco’s acronym for their leadership competencies: CLEAD (Collaborate, Learn, Execute, Accelerate, Disrupt).

Like any good acronym, CLEAD is intuitive and provides a working approximation to an underlying truth.

Also like any good acronym, it is situational and not exclusive – CLEAD is what leadership means to Cisco, not to every organization.

But what I like most about CLEAD is that out of all the leadership competencies Cisco could have included, during all the kill-me-now, do-we-have-to-discuss-this-again meetings that I’m sure they had, somebody worked hard to get ‘disrupt’ in there.

Fact is, most business leaders don’t disrupt.

Quite the opposite – out of fear, comfort, ego, money or a combination of all four, mostly they do all they can to maintain the status quo.

(Note, I’m talking here about formally recognized ‘leaders’ – not the real, informal, guerilla leaders in the organization.)

Every time a leader pulls the ladder up from behind them by quashing initiative in others, squeezing out the challenge factor, driving out risk-taking or strangling creativity they push their organization a little further over the edge from Treadmill (which is recoverable) into The Big Rut (which isn’t).

Now, you don’t do that (or you wouldn’t be reading this in the first place) – but are you actively disrupting?

Are you finding ways to improve what you, your team and your organization does by challenging the status quo and seeking new ways to address old problems?

Three questions for you:

1. When was the last time you saw an opportunity to disrupt?
2. Did you take it?
3. If not, why not?

Let Me Know In The Comments Below!


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