Here’s the one undisputed test of a leader

If there is one indisputable test of a leader, it’s the results she or he produces.

As Henry Ford once said: You cannot build a reputation on what you’re going to do.

Intent without action is just daydreaming. People who are leaders get results. I’ve always thought that any decision well-implemented is better than a brilliant decision not well-implemented.

Here are some of the things that hold people back from taking bold action and from implementing their ideas:

Paralysis by analysis.

At times, we analyze a problem to death rather than acting on it. I realize that taking action without proper consideration is risky—even dangerous. But, an equal risk arises when you over-study a situation rather than doing something about it.

If you’re unsure whether or not you have all the information you need, ask yourself: Is additional information going to improve the quality or timeliness of taking action right now?

Another barrier to taking action is fear of failure.

It’s true: when you act, you may fail. It’s also true that if you don’t act, you’ll never fail—but, of course, you’ll never achieve anything worthwhile, either.

No matter how much information you collect, success is never a sure thing. The fact is, people who act as leaders fail more often than others do. Why? Because they try more things and take more risks. Failure in the pursuit of a worthy cause is the price leaders pay for their ultimate success.

And finally, confusing talking with taking action.

Discussing a problem or opportunity isn’t part of implementing it. Discussion comes before action—but isn’t action.

At the end of each meeting or conversation, determine who is going to do what. Make sure everyone else has accepted responsibility for their specific tasks. Set a schedule for when these actions will occur. Identify a date and time to report back on results.

Leaders who know what they stand for and what is important act with confidence. Leaders get results.

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