Leadership 101

July 27, 2014

I heard an amazing TED talk today on Disruptive Leadership. Actually, I heard the very end of a talk by Drew Dudley—I’d never heard of him before—which, I later learned, bears the title Have You Changed Someone’s Life without Realizing It? Then I heard the entirety of a talk by Seth Godin, a rock star in the TED talk and leadership worlds. (Note which talk gets the link.)

Mr. Dudley consults on leadership in Canada. He’s a heavy-set, unimpressive guy with no evident fancy credentials. So what, for his premise and his advice captivated me!

We have made leadership into something bigger than us. We’ve made it into something beyond us. We’ve made it about changing the world.

Leadership is not about changing the world. It’s about having someone follow you, plain and simple. (Two or 20 or 2,000,000? Even better, but all it takes is one.)

Mr. Dudley tells a totally charming story about an encounter he does not recall. It involved a scared student on her first day of college, and he shared it to demonstrate that leadership comes in all sizes and shapes, that it may not even seem like leadership, and that it leading can change someone’s life. (I don’t want to spoil the story, so please click and listen; the whole talk is less than seven minutes, and if listening to it does not lift you up for at least a few minutes, contact Mark Rubin Writes for a full refund of your subscription payment!)

Now, and this is the really important part of the talk, Mr. Dudley focuses on the fact that the student sought him out four years later to share the story and thank him. (They were not really acquainted, and had not spoken at all during those four years.) He challenges his audience—that now includes me, and should include you—to acknowledge people whose actions have changed you, even they may be strangers. Put differently, he reminds us all to say “thank you” to those people who have mattered positively in our lives. Great advice! (Such great advice, in fact, that I cannot recall what Mr. Godin talked about.)

Sorry this piece is so short, but I’ve got a thank you list to work on!

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