Issue Number 31: Leadership: A To-Do List and a To-Be List

Do you create to-do lists? If you do something that is not on your to-do list, do you add it to the list and cross it out? Welcome to the club.

To-do lists are a handy tool for capturing the tasks you have to perform and measuring your progress as you complete them. They can help you feel good about yourself at the end of the day, but they do not help you build your foundation as a leader.

You build your foundation by creating a to-be list. The to-be list consists of the principles that describe the kind of leader you want to be.

My to-be list consists of three principles:

1. Look for people doing something right, not wrong.
2. Look for more leaders, not more followers.
3. Look for substance over style.

Developing a set of principles is not an easy task. Mike Campbell, a character in Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, is asked to describe how he went bankrupt: “Gradually, then suddenly.” is his response. Your principles may not come into the world fully formed, but they will come, perhaps gradually, then suddenly. Consider the principles I have followed and build upon them to create your own.

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